The Eagles have been putting in work lately to secure some of the team veterans — Jason Peters, Brandon Graham — and have even brought back a few familiar faces including DeSean Jackson and, most recently, Vinny Curry. More than the team wanting to lock in these guys is the fact that they all (except Jackson who was traded) chose to come back to the Philadelphia locker room.
There’s been plenty of time since the locker room saga of the Chip Kelly era, and with a Super Bowl to claim since, it’s all way back in the rearview. But it’s easy to forget that the locker room culture at the time was considered toxic, and was much more difficult to get guys to want to stay, much less take lower deals than they would get elsewhere.
Now, you’ve got players the past couple seasons seeking out an Eagles roster spot to play with Carson Wentz, and Vinny Curry willing to take a lesser contract to get back to Philly despite several other options on the table.
In Curry’s teleconference with the media after signing his new deal, he talked about the importance on getting back to his brothers.
CURRY: Man, I just missed the guys. I missed the guys in the locker room. You know, obviously, some of my best friends is on the team. Anytime you go on a Super Bowl run like that, you kind of just miss that morale. I definitely enjoyed my time in Tampa, but at the end of the day, home is home.
Doug Pederson, along with Howie Roseman, has stressed how important the locker room culture is and being sure to sign guys to the team that fit in and boost that morale. It’s not been just a talking point, but something that’s been a main focus in the moves they’ve made since he was hired in 2016.
All that work to revitalize the culture has worked, and has created an environment that draws top-tier talent and encourages players to stay as long as possible.
The team and it’s owner Jeffery Lurie also don’t shy away from allowing the players to express their beliefs and encourages them to use their platform in positive ways. They’ve since been involved in numerous initiatives throughout the city and country, and are making an impact that not all teams would support.
By re-signing Vinny Curry and DeSean Jackson, Howie also continues to show the organization’s focus on keeping players they’ve drafted on the roster. Sure, there’s been a bit of a gap, but bringing two guys who repeatedly called Philly “home” goes a long way in them already buying into the team and the city — and certainly not least, the love and passion of the fans.
We’ve come a long way in just a short three seasons under Pederson, and as we head into Year 4, things continue to look up. The Eagles haven’t even hit their peak yet, and continue to make moves that strengthen the locker room culture, which strengthens the bond and chemistry on the field. And we all saw what chemistry can lead to in 2017.