The NFL trade deadline came and went without the Eagles making any moves. They weren’t sellers or buyers at the midway point. However, there were quite a few rumors being floated out there in the weeks leading up to Nov. 3. The biggest one centered around one of their prized free-agent signings: hybrid safety Will Parks.
Parks, the Philly native who inked a one-year deal last March, grew up an Eagles fan and attended Germantown High School. The 26-year-old even has a tattoo of a bald eagle — his “favorite sky animal,” per Parks — on his arm and channels the majestic bird for “blessings” on gamedays. He was seen kissing the Eagles’ logo at midfield during the team’s last home game.
“I got an Eagle tattoo right here on my arm, a lot of people didn’t know that, and I had that before my first year in the league,” Parks told reporters on Friday. “I always kiss that Eagle because that’s my favorite sky animal, and I just feel like it’ll give me some blessings.”
It’s long been his dream to play for his hometown team. So when he first heard the trade winds blowing, it was a tad upsetting to hear he could be leaving town after just three games (113 total snaps) in midnight green. But Parks also understood that the NFL is a business and these things happen. No hard feelings whatsoever.
“Man, it’s part of the business,” Parks said. “I felt like, as a football player, a player of my caliber — at the end of the day, teams are going to do what teams are going to do with you. You got to focus on what you can to do to make this team win games and stuff like that.”
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Trade Rumors ‘Definitely in the Back of My Mind’
Parks’ main focus right now is on beating the New York Giants. The Eagles need a win to maintain their tight grip on the NFC East. Still, the trade rumors certainly weighed heavily on his mind at the time. Remember, the Eagles and Vikings reportedly had preliminary discussions about a deadline deal.
“It was definitely in the back of my mind, you know, being in my fifth year,” Parks said. “I know it’s a business so at the end of the day you just never know what’s going to go on. So you just got to go out there and do what you do best and make plays.”
The speculation over Parks was a bit strange considering the Eagles were wounded at safety. They were down K’Von Wallace, Marcus Epps, Rudy Ford at the time. All are back, save Epps who is recovering from a positive COVID-19 test. It’s not like the team would have received much cap relief by shedding Parks’ $1.5 million contract either. Either way, the five-year NFL veteran was happy to remain in the nest.
“I breathed a sigh of relief,” Parks said when no trade happened. “I’m happy to be playing for the Philadelphia Eagles, my hometown team.”
Rodney McLeod Keeping Defense Together
Earlier this week, defensive tackle Malik Jackson jokingly referred to Rodney McLeod as “Senator Rodney” for his tireless work in the community and for chartering a bus to get people to vote. McLeod has risen to the leadership role left behind by former safety Malcolm Jenkins.
While Jackson’s comment may have been tongue-in-cheek, it’s kind of true. McLeod is deliberate with everything he does, from choosing which shirt he wears in press conferences to how he organizes pre-game anthem demonstrations.
He is a leader on the field as the captain of the defense, as well as off it through the establishment of the Eagles’ Social Justice Committee. His activism hasn’t gone unnoticed by his teammates.
“Rodney has done a tremendous job as far as keeping guys together, keeping the defense as a whole together,” Parks said. “Doing all the little things that are required out of a safety of his caliber. Off the field, Rod is one of the biggest guys in the whole entire league when it comes to community events, getting guys to show love, things like that. I think he’s done a spectacular job.”
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