Ex-Eagles Starter Unloads on Philly Front Office After ‘Back Turn’

C.J. Gardner-Johnson

Getty C.J. Gardner-Johnson bolted the Eagles for the Lions in free agency after the 2022 season.

If anyone thought the door was still open for C.J. Gardner-Johnson to return to Philadelphia in 2024, it’s now safe to slam it shut. The 25-year-old safety had some interesting things to say about his former employer as he lamented the Eagles’ front office not fully understanding his complicated personality.

Gardner-Johnson bolted Philadelphia for the Detroit Lions after talks broke down two weeks into free agency. There were reports that the Eagles made a more lucrative offer than the one-year, $6.5 million deal he accepted with the Lions. That remains a point of debate and contention.

Either way, things ended in a messy fashion and the trash-talking ballhawk did his best to set the record straight during a recent appearance on the “Up & Adams” show on FanDuel TV. Gardner-Johnson didn’t outright criticize Howie Roseman or anyone in the Eagles’ organization, instead lumping them in with the New Orleans Saints, who traded him to the Eagles in August 2022.

“I don’t think no front office, no matter where I’ve been at, understand the player,” Gardner-Johnson told Kay Adams. “They see hair, lash out, going against players on the field, but it’s like you either got a passion about you or not passion about you. So, I think when you get to a spot, you give it your all, and then they just turn their back on you. I mean, just treat it like a business. I’m just here to do what I gotta do to make my teammates happy and understand that you can’t put your feelings too much into it.”

The comments seemed to contradict the praise he heaped on the Eagles last year when comparing the positive culture there to the negative one he endured in New Orleans. Now, as he joins his third team in eight months, it seems all of his previous stops were bad experiences.

“Like I said, they want to take the game away from the player, but you can’t do it because if you put me out there you can’t find nothing bad about me,” Gardner-Johnson told Kay Adams. “I’m always out there for my teammates. I’m the first one on spot, but those types of conversations, with the agents, teams — I just let it go in one ear and out the other because the way they see me and the way other people see me, it’s two different things. So you can’t fight it. I’m here. I’m blessed to be here. I got another opportunity to play football. I mean, nobody expected me to sit two weeks into free agency, but it is what it is. It’s life, you can’t control certain things.”

Gardner-Johnson Reflects on Super Bowl Loss

The one thing Gardner-Johnson wasn’t mad about was laying it on the line with his Eagles teammates. They were three points away from winning the 2023 Super Bowl, or at least sending it into overtime. The sting of being so close to hoisting the Lombardi Trophy above his head still haunts him.

“It bothers [me] because if you look at the team I was on, the structure of that team, you never get that many vets in the same room. You never get that much talent in the same room in one year,” Gardner-Johnson told Kay Adams. “You’re never going to find a system that works for everybody, like no injuries, no flaws, no team issues. It’s like, when you have a Super Bowl run — and going back to when I was with Malcolm Jenkins in New Orleans and talking to him — everything has to come together.

“Everybody has to see the same goal. Everybody has to understand what you’re there for. So, I think losing that game hurt more because if you would have won it, it’s like you got to do it again. And expect to do it again. So, I think losing it, it makes you humble up and respect the game more.”

Brian Dawkins Sings ‘Take Me Out to the Ball Game’

Eagles legend Brian Dawkins delivered a stirring rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” on May 23 at Citizens Bank Park. He expectedly got fans into a frenzy before the Philadelphia Phillies hosted the Arizona Diamondbacks. Just in case you missed it:

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