Jordan Howard remains focused on beating a stout Bears defense, instead of revenge against his former team. That’s just the way he’s wired.
The running back failed to cite animosity against Chicago after the team traded him to Philadelphia in the offseason. Howard, who has gained the second-most rushing yards (3,813) in the NFL since 2016, said he knew the Bears were moving on from him about a month before the deal was finalized. The 24-year-old had prepared his mind and body for a new challenge, and there’s no extra motivation to prove his doubters wrong.
“I’m excited for it, get to see my old teammates and people I got to play with for three years, that’ll be exciting … but I’m just going to treat it like another game,” Howard told reporters Friday. “I don’t need to prove myself to anybody. I don’t need any validation from anybody. I’m my own worst critic so anything I do, I’m my toughest critic. I don’t care what anybody else says.”
Howard mentioned the word revenge only once during his media availability, using it to emphasize that Sunday’s game was not a “revenge game or anything like that.” He does see it as a tough test against a really good defense, though.
“That’s a tough test going against that defense. I like having that challenge,” Howard said.
The bruising back fell out of favor with head coach Matt Nagy in Chicago — Howard wasn’t seen as a good fit for his pass-happy attack — and the team sent him packing. Howard was the Bears’ fifth-round pick (150th overall) in 2016 and racked up 24 touchdowns in three seasons there.
Tarik Cohen to Jordan Howard : ‘HeCan’t Tackle Me’
Tarik Cohen and Jordan Howard struck up a special bond as a dynamic one-two punch in the Bears backfield. While Cohen’s sudden emergence helped seal Howard’s Chicago exit, the two running backs remain close friends. They have been chatting ahead of Sunday’s game, all in good fun. That didn’t stop Cohen from admitting that he wouldn’t mind getting a chance to tackle Howard.
“That’s my guy. I talk to him often — before every game, after every game,” Cohen told WGN Radio’s Adam Hoge. “A little family reunion. I wish he played special teams or defense so he had to try to tackle me or something. Because I know he can’t tackle me.”
The Eagles never put Howard out on special teams unit so Cohen is right in assuming he won’t get that opportunity. However, Howard will finally be able to show the Bears what kind of player they gave up on. He can say all the right things, but there has to be a small part of him that wants revenge in this one.
“I’ve seen the guy, each week’s been focused and this really hasn’t been any different for him the way he’s gone about his business and the way he’s prepared,” said Eagles head coach Doug Pederson.
Eagles Should Offer Contract Extension to Running Back
Jordan Howard is only under contract with the Eagles for one season, so GM Howie Roseman might want to get him to the negotiating table over the bye week. Or maybe sooner. The offense has functioned on all cylinders with Howard pounding the rock at the line of scrimmage. He’s averaging the most yards per carry since his rookie season at 4.4 (versus 5.2 in 2016) and the Eagles are 3-1 when he has at least 13 touches.
Howard, who has 443 yards and six total touchdowns, needs to be a focal part of the Eagles’ offense. The team is more dangerous when he’s more involved. He should also be a top priority for their long-term plans. Howard’s base salary this year is a minuscule $2.025 million, a steal for someone this productive. Pay the man. He wants to stay in Philly.
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