His smile is contagious (and shiny), and Eagles defender Timmy Jernigan has a lot more to smile about now that he can put his injury-filled 2018 behind him and look ahead to another season in Philadelphia.
Jim Schwartz has never wavered in his support for Jernigan, and has repeatedly talked about how his personality and energy is contagious both in the locker room and on the field. But, now that he’s back on the field and healthy, he’s looking forward and putting his injury struggles in the past.
“I’m motivated to win games and to help this team,” Jernigan said, according to the team site. “I feel like last year, that’s in the past, man. I can’t change that. I’m just focused on what’s ahead of me.”
Last year, Jernigan only suited up for three regular season and two playoff games after suffering a mysterious back injury during the offseason which lingered through the majority of the year. Once he was fully cleared to get back on the field, his coaches and teammates embraced his return with open arms, fully aware of all the talent he brought to the roster.
He only put up five total tackles in 2018 and one sack in the playoffs, but getting back on the field in any regard was at least a step in the right direction. Now, he’s fully healthy and excited to be participating at practice and able to work with his many other talented defensive teammates like Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox and newly acquired Malik Jackson.
“I feel good and I’m having fun. That’s my goal this year. If I do those things, the rest will take care of itself,” Jernigan said, according to the team site. “I’m going to control what I can control. This defense, it has a lot of pieces. I just want to help us win games and play my best football and have fun doing it.”
Having fun is part of what makes Jernigan successful, and part of what makes him beloved throughout the locker room. During the Eagles’ 2017 Super Bowl run, the team was firing on all cylinders and part of their success was directly the result of them having so much fun and playing with confidence and swagger.
Jernigan is ready to get back to that kind of energy now that he’s healthy and back in action.