There’s a very important issue to sort out prior to the 2019 Philadelphia Eagles season:
How should we refer to rookie wide receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside?
That’s a question BGN already took a closer look at back in May, shortly after the Eagles selected the Stanford alumnus with the No. 57 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Arcega-Whiteside himself encouraged fans to weigh in:
very interesting article here would to get yalls opinion https://t.co/PT16szuFJE— Jj Arcega-Whiteside (@jjarcega_22) May 6, 2019
And here’s how the final poll results shook out:
As you can see, “Sega” was the clear winner. In speaking with Arcega-Whiteside in the Eagles’ locker room after an OTA practice in May, he told me he that’s a unique one he hadn’t previously heard before.
But there’s also an issue with that nickname. Crossing Broad’s Kevin Kinkead astutely notes that the “cega” in Arcega should actually be pronounced as “thega” and not “sega” (like the video game system). Do recall that Arcega-Whiteside was born in Spain.
So, if “Sega” is out, what should we call him? I sought out to answer that question by speaking with the 22-year-old pass catcher.
BLG: What do you want your nickname to be?
JJ Arcega-Whiteside: “Honestly, for me, like, I’ve got to go out there and earn the nickname. It could be one of these (referring to the BGN poll options). It could be all of these. It could be none of these. I feel like a nickname is a reflection of what you do on the field. Hopefully my nickname is not “Drops” or “Soft” or something. (laughs)
BLG: What did most people call you at Stanford?
JJ Arcega-Whiteside: They called me Arcegatron. Or Cuervo. Depends on who you ask, honestly.
BLG: I feel like Arcegatron is one that, like, you can’t catch a slant and be Arcegatron. Can you?
JJ Arcega-Whiteside: Nah.
BLG: Doesn’t it have to be a fade or something?
JJ Arcega-Whiteside: It has to be.
BLG: I feel like it’s a situational thing.
JJ Arcega-Whiteside: Yeah. Well, actually, like, that started in high school. If you ask anybody who I went to high school [with], that’s what they called me. Most of the guys just call me by my real first name, Jose.
BLG: Here [in Philadelphia], too?
JJ Arcega-Whiteside: Not here because I don’t think anybody knows what my first name is yet. But a lot of people back at Stanford, once they found out, they were like that’s what we’re calling him.
BLG: What do people call you here?
JJ Arcega-Whiteside: “JJ.” (laughs)
BLG: Coaches, too?
JJ Arcega-Whiteside: Yeah, everybody. But, like I said, I’ve got to go out there and earn a nickname.
BLG: How do you feel about being called “JJ” when there’s already a JJ Redick in town?
JJ Arcega-Whiteside: I’ve always been a fan of JJ Redick. I grew up in South Carolina so I know his game all too well.
This conversation took place prior to Redick leaving the 76ers to sign a contract with the New Orleans Pelicans. That’s hardly a bad development for Arcega-Whiteside, though, who can now become Philadelphia’s new JJ.
Whatever option it is that fans settle on, I have a strong suspicion it’ll be a nickname that’s often used fondly. Arcega-Whiteside seems like a real humble kid with legit potential. The rookie wideout was certainly one of the standouts from spring practices. And even though he might not get a lot of playing time in 2019 with the trio of Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, and Nelson Agholor ahead of him on the depth chart, Arcega-Whiteside can still be a factor for this team in the red zone. He’s bound to make one of his signature “Arcegatron” leaping catches at some point.
Until then, maybe just call him what his Eagles coaches and teammates do: JJ.
For even more on JJ Arcega-Whiteside’s background, check out this great feature on him from The Athletic’s Sheil Kapadia.