Every Philadelphia Eagles fan remembers it like clockwork. Rewind the year to 2004 and Eli Manning is making his NFL debut. Let’s set the scene: Manning drops back to pass on 3rd-and-12 from his own 20-yard line, with 20 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and the Eagles leading the Giants, 31-10.
Manning decided to roll out of the pocket, looking left before drifting right. All of a sudden, impact. Boom. Manning was absolutely crushed by Eagles defensive end Jerome McDougle. Manning recently recalled the play on NFL Network and deemed it the “biggest hit I’ve ever take in my life.” The hit was so vicious the referees just ended the game after they called for a 10-second runoff on the clock.
“I got destroyed … right in the neck,” Manning told NFL Network. “It’s the biggest hit I’ve ever taken in my life. All I remember is Ron Dayne picked the ball up, he runs out of bounds and they just called the game. They said game over. Sounds good to me. Let’s go to the locker room.”
Here is how Reuben Frank from NBC Sports Philadelphia described the play:
As Manning’s head snapped viciously to the left, he was hit again by linebacker Keith Adams and then slammed to the turf by defensive tackle Darwin Walker as the ball popped free.
It was a while before he moved.
“I thought he was dead,” his dad, Archie Manning, told reporters after the game.
Manning, still cringing and holding his neck while talking about it on the NFL Network set, also relayed his own account of the hit.
“I think it was like a 62 read or something,” Manning said. “It was the last play of the game, we kind of had a little drive going. I wanted to throw it … 12 seconds, waiting, roll out, reverse direction … how did he get behind me?”
Was Jerome McDougle Eagles Biggest Bust?
McDougle, a first-round pick (15th overall) for the Eagles in 2003, never really lived up to the hype after a storied career at the University of Miami. He finished a four-year NFL career with just three sacks and 37 total tackles. McDougle constantly found himself “on the bubble” and in danger of being cut coming out of his final two Eagles training camps. Ironically, he spent his final year with the Giants.
Some have argued McDougle was the biggest bust in Eagles’ franchise history. Bleacher Report’s Chris Klinkner laid out a pretty compelling case that he was worse than Mike Mamula.
The Eagles completed draft day trades to move up and select both McDougle and Mamula. To select Mamula, the Eagles traded their first-round pick (12th overall) and two second-round draft choices to Tampa Bay. To select McDougle, the Eagles traded their No. 30 and No. 62 picks to San Diego.
As Mamula and McDougle share the same position, defensive end, it is easy to compare the numbers. The numbers overwhelmingly favor Mike Mamula. Whoever thought you would you read such a statement about Mamula?
McDougle actually played in Philadelphia for six total seasons, but only gets credited for three after undergoing a rash of injuries and weird circumstances on and off the field. The Eagles eventually cut him after a rough preseason in 2008.
McDougle Shot During a Robbery in Miami
File this under can’t make this stuff up. McDougle was shot in the abdomen in 2005 after being robbed in Miami, four days before he was supposed to report for training camp. Remarkably, the bullet missed all major organs and he made a full recovery following an emergency surgery — well, almost. Complications and infections arose from the surgery and he didn’t take the field again until the 2006 season.
“Right after it happened I went under and then I came back like probably for 10 minutes, and then I was up until the time I went into surgery,” McDougle said after being shot in 2005. “It makes you put things in perspective. It’s tough not being able to lift your son (Jerome III) and do the things you want to do. It really makes you be patient and have some self-control. I feel good to be back. I just want to move on from it. I just want to put that chapter behind me.”
In 2004, McDougle was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat and played his entire NFL career with the abnormality. The bust label seems a little harsh considering all the Florida native has had to endure. The 40-year-old is still alive and well, by all accounts.
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