C.J. Gardner-Johnson Gets Brutally Honest Comparing Saints, Eagles

C.J. Gardner-Johnson

Getty Safety C.J. Gardner-Johsnon finished tied for the NFL lead in interceptions with 6 after coming over to Philly from New Orleans in a trade.

The Philadelphia Eagles have a better culture than the New Orleans Saints, according to C.J. Gardner-Johnson. Better players on the field. Better treatment from the front office. Better vibes all around. The league leader in interceptions wanted to get that off his chest after beating the New York Giants on Sunday and clinching the NFC East.

Actually, Gardner-Johnson was kind of surprised about how the past five months have played out. He didn’t quite know what to expect when the Eagles made a surprise trade for him coming out of training camp. The one-time cornerback turned safety has enjoyed the ride immensely, saying his experience in Philadelphia has been better than his previous stop — although, in an effort to curb any unnecessary drama, Gardner-Johnson was quick to clarify that he harbored no ill will toward New Orleans. He has fond memories from his time there.

“It’s been better than expected,” Gardner-Johnson told reporters when asked about his first season in Philly. “Uhh, I get treated very, very, very, very, very like better than I was in New Orleans. And I ain’t saying nothing bad, you know what I’m saying? I’m just saying you play better ball when you’re around better guys. When you’re around better athletes, so I feel like … this is the result of it, you know what I’m saying?

“S***, I still lead the league in picks. My team got the best defense. So I say I kind of benefited from it this year. And my teammates benefitted from it. I think the biggest part coming in here was humbling myself.”

Gardner-Johnson elaborated on how he humbled himself: “You got two other corners that can cover better than me. I was covering all downs in New Orleans. But when I got the chance to play with some lock-down corners … I just figured out, like play my role. Turned out to be good, I guess.”

He was referring to Pro Bowl teammates Darius Slay and James Bradberry. Then, Gardner-Johnson took his NFC East champions cap off his head and twirled it around his fingers for the media to see. The Eagles are the No. 1 seed in the NFC and plan on adding two more hats to their expanding collection of championship headwear.

Darius Slay Proudly Wearing NFC East Champs Hat

Don’t think for one second that the Eagles are satisfied with only being NFC East champions. Jalen Hurts made that crystal clear in his post-game victory speech. However, several players were proudly wearing their championship gear in the locker room on Sunday and not apologizing for showing it off.

In fact, Slay was a bit emotional about the accomplishment since it marked the first division crown for the 10-year veteran.

“Right now I’m looking forward to seeing who we play next week but today I’m going to enjoy my t-shirt and hat, and wear that mother f***** everywhere I go today. I might wear it again tomorrow so don’t mind me,” Slay told reporters. “It means a lot to me. I’ve been in the league 10 years and never won a division in my life. I got one today. I’ve never had a bye week. I’ve never seen the second round. I get to see both of them at one time, so I’m thankful.”

Nick Sirianni Sparks Up Victory Cigar, Handing Out Hats

Head coach Nick Sirianni had a victory cigar in his mouth when the locker room was opened up to reporters, per The Inquirer’s Josh Tolentino. He was also seen dapping up several players as the team prepares for their bye week. It felt good to finally wrap up what has been a historic season. They know the work isn’t done. Too many goals remain. But, for one night, it was certainly okay to relax and celebrate.

“We wanted to set our identity of who we are and just keep plugging away at it,” Sirianni said. “But winning in this league is hard to do, and we won’t apologize for that. It feels good to be able to get the division and our 14th win.”

And don’t forget those NFC East championship hats. Sirianni was handing them out like sour apple jolly ranchers to his whole family.

“I get to give him [looking to his son] one of those hats,” Sirianni said. “Get to give him one of those hats, get to give my dad a hat, my other kids, my wife one of those hats. That’s cool.”

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