Connor Barwin feels like he has another impactful season in him, maybe two. The veteran defensive end has unfinished business in the NFL, namely hoisting that elusive Lombardi Trophy. It should come as no surprise that his preference is to do it in Philadelphia. He never wanted to leave.
“I’m trying to come back and play for the Eagles,” Barwin told Heavy.com. “I’m training right now and I’ve talked to [Eagles GM] Howie [Roseman] and they’re going to see if they need any depth on the edge and so I’m going to wait until camp starts before I sign anywhere else, but obviously I’m not going to wait too long. But the Eagles know that’s where I want to be.”
Barwin fueled speculation of an Eagles reunion last week when he posted an Instagram picture at Lincoln Financial Field. Turns out, he was there for a conference hosted by Green Sports Alliance where he was speaking on a panel about environmental justice and sports. That may have been a coincidence, but Barwin has been in talks with Roseman throughout the offseason about his desire to return. The two have even discussed the specific role he might play on the Eagles’ defense, similar to the situational pass-rushing one perfected by Chris Long.
“I’m going into my 11th year and I’m ready to just be a situational player. Howie knows. I’ll be there if one of the three guys get hurt or if something happens, or to mentor the younger guys,” Barwin said, referring to Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry, and Derek Barnett. “You know, Philly’s situation is BG, Vinny, and DB — three great guys on the edge — and I would come in to support those guys. If I don’t play in Philly, it would be the same situation somewhere else. Be the third edge guy.”
Barwin has been training rigorously at Temple University with his good friend and former Eagles teammate Jason Kelce. He doesn’t hesitate when asked if he’s in competitive football shape, saying that he adhered to the same workout plan last offseason before signing with the New York Giants right before training camp started. He would like to join a team around the end of July. Right now, he’s waiting for Roseman to dial his number.
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“I would love for it to be in Philly,” Barwin said. “Me and Howie are talking. I might wait a week into camp, but that’s about as far as I’m going to wait. Other teams are going to be like, ‘You better sign now or we’re going to sign someone else.’ If not, I’ll try to go to another contender. I would love for it to be in a good situation where I can contribute.”
Make no mistake, Barwin’s singular goal is to win a Super Bowl. He’ll only sign with a contender. “Yup, that’s it,” he said.
Barwin only started five games for the Giants last year as they gave the extra snaps to their younger players after the season quickly spiraled out of control. That time on the bench kept the 32-year-old fresh and now he “feels great” going into his 11th NFL season. The free agent has promised his family that he’s calling it a career after 12 seasons, mainly because he doesn’t want to move again. He has bounced around from Los Angeles to New York since leaving the Eagles in 2016.
“I told my family that no matter what I’m going to stop at 12 [seasons],” he said. “This could be the last one, or maybe one more. But I’m done at 12. That’s the hard number.”
Barwin lives in Philadelphia with his wife, Laura, and last year the couple gave birth to their 1-year-old son, West. The enterprising pass-rusher also runs the day-to-day operations for Make The World Better, a charity foundation dedicated to helping communities reimagine their public spaces, from his growing office in the city’s Fishtown section. They have raised more than $300,000 solely through Barwin’s contributions while leveraging another $6 million in park projects.
“With my child and my wife’s job and the foundation, money isn’t really an issue at all anymore,” Barwin said. “I want to be playing, but I’d like to not move again … but if I have to move, I’ll move.”
The Eagles are his first choice, but not only choice. Barwin has been in contact with several other teams (and wouldn’t divulge which ones) but the combination of familiarity with the organization – he hangs out with Kelce and played one season under head coach Doug Pederson – and the talent on the roster makes Philadelphia extremely attractive.
“It would be great to be part of the Eagles because I think they are going to be good,” Barwin said. “I mean you never know from year to year, but obviously for me, they are high on my list because then I wouldn’t have to move, and they won the Super Bowl two years ago and were within one win of an NFC Championship last year. A lot of that core is still there.”
“I think they are super talented up front, on both sides of the ball. They got Carson [Wentz], Alshon [Jeffery], [Malcolm] Jenkins is a great leader in the back, so there is a lot of talented players there and then I played for [head coach] Doug [Pederson] his first year there and everyone loves playing for Doug, so they are high on the list. But there are some other teams on the list that are good, too, so we’ll see what happens.”’