The Eagles drafted a hometown guy in linebacker Shaun Bradley at No. 196 on the final day of the 2020 NFL Draft. Bradley spoke with Philadelphia media on Saturday evening about staying home, what the Eagles mean to him, and his deep connection to the team.
Here’s what he had to say:
Bradley said it was an unbelievable moment to get the call that he’d be staying in Philadelphia. He did talk to the Eagles a little bit heading into the draft (not a lot), but wasn’t expecting to get that call from Coach Pederson — he later joked that the call came in as “Philadelphia” and when he looked at the clock, it hit him.
“I just cried, man. I had so many emotions, so many visions on what I could do, what was going to happen. It was just like a kid’s dream. You wait all year, so long for this moment, and then it happens and it’s like, ‘Man, I got here. Now what am I going to do with it?’
So I immediately started thinking, this can’t be it for me. I don’t want it to be a story where I just get drafted and that’s it. I’m just ready to work.”
He said that his Mom was excited and his Dad, a Giants fan, put on an Eagles jersey right away. Bradley said that he isn’t worried about staying close to home being a distraction, that he’s a guy that stays to himself mostly and just wants to stay under the radar and get to work.
As a local guy he’s very familiar with the Eagles’ linebacker situation, and even when he was in Arizona training and the team released Nigel Bradham, he was looking at the position. But, Bradley said that you never know how things are going to work out, so he just stayed hopeful.
Bradley’s agent is Barry Gardner — former Eagles player and teammate of Doug Pederson. He was asked if that connection helped, and he admitted that it probably played a part. He said Gardner was thorough and honest with him throughout the process, and that he had talked to Pederson about the linebacker.
The incoming rookie isn’t completely familiar with the Eagles’ defense and scheme, but he’s ready to learn.
“I followed the Eagles a lot. I’ve watched mostly every game. Everybody in my family, we are Eagles fans, so every Sunday the games are on. Even at school, I put the game on. Always watched the Eagles play and supported.
I’m familiar with the team and the players and the base scheme. I’m definitely ready to learn more of what they do on different downs and what calls they make and how the coaches coach.”
He was also about his favorite Eagles’ game memory — and he chose the Philadelphia favorite.
“The Super Bowl of course. I was I think a sophomore. I was in my dorm. I was watching the whole game. I was cheering for them the whole playoffs. When they won, I looked outside, and it was just an avalanche of people. I just have never seen anything like that it. They were doing crazy things, jumping on light posts, or whatever, flipping cars. But it was just ridiculous.
The energy, the love they had for the city and the team, it was just incomparable honestly. I have never seen anything like it. Although I never really seen anybody win a Super Bowl besides the Eagles.”
The incoming rookie saw three different coaching staffs during his time at Temple, which he said was beneficial because he was able to learn from three different coaches and three different staffs, different terminology, schemes, how they run things.
“Coaching changes helped me better myself as a leader. I was able to keep the team together. Make sure everybody — we were just focusing on ourselves instead of the coaches. I’ve told the team; this is a business. Coaches are going to come and go, but you have to figure out what you can go do to make sure the team doesn’t lose a step or fall off track.
I put a lot of emphasis on making sure nobody was late and being on time to things. Just doing the little things right so we don’t lose a step with the coaching teams. So it definitely helped me build character, leadership, everything. Just helped me build myself because I had to take charge in that.”
He’s eager to learn, though, at the next level and better himself in all aspects of his game. Bradley mentioned that he relied a lot on his speed in college and his a physical player. He likes to tackle, loves contact and doesn’t shy away from it.