Darius Slay was limping around with 7:15 showing in the fourth quarter when he waved off Zech McPhearson. There was no way the four-time Pro Bowl cornerback was coming out in a crucial situation. A few seconds later, Slay made a leaping interception in the end zone to give the ball back to his offense.
It was Slay’s second pick and slammed the door shut on any comeback attempt by Minnesota. He read Kirk Cousins’ eyes to perfection and finished Justin Jefferson’s route for him. He never considered taking a seat on the bench with the game hanging in the balance. Slay knew what he had to do. And the Philadelphia Eagles beat the Vikings 24-7.
“I had to wave him off, you know, I’m a tough dude,” Slay told reporters. “I’m not going to put him in that position right now. It was a clutch situation, the offense just turned the ball over, only the great players rise in that type of moment.”
Slay rose in every moment during Monday night’s victory at Lincoln Financial Field. He stuck to Jefferson like static cling on laundry. Cousins was 1-of-5 for 7 yards when Slay was the nearest defender. And Slay had more interceptions (2) than receptions allowed (1) on 5 targets to Jefferson.
“I don’t take no matchup lightly,” Slay said. “But he is one of the best in the world, and, shoot, I’m one of the best in the world, too, so I was looking forward to the matchup.”
Sixers Star James Harden Gets VIP Treatment
Slay was determined to celebrate his first interception with a VIP fan in the stands. He ran off the field in the third quarter and handed the football to James Harden of the Philadelphia 76ers. It wasn’t a premeditated move, but one that came together quickly once Slay saw Harden on the Jumbotron.
“Well, honestly, I didn’t even know he was at the game until they put him on the Jumbotron,” Slay said. “He’s one of my favorite players. So, shoot, why not? It’s not every day I get a chance to meet James Harden, Hall of Fame basketball player.”
His second pick – the one he snatched out of the air from Jefferson in the fourth quarter – was being reserved for another favorite person in Slay’s life. He was bringing that ball home for his son as a souvenir.
Media Keeps Disrespecting ‘Elite Level’ Slay
A recent list of the Top-10 cornerbacks in the NFL surprisingly had Slay’s name missing. Some had been predicting the Eagles cornerback to come out a tad slower in 2022. This is a player on the decline, right? Not elite anymore? Stop it.
“I mean, I got a lot of respect [around the league] but you know how it always go, the older you get, people think you are falling off but I ain’t one of them guys,” Slay said. “I’m still at an elite level. I deserve a lot of respect. I think the league respects me enough … it just be the media.”
Slay also rushed to the defense of Jonathan Gannon who was getting criticized after Week 1. He reminded everyone that Gannon doesn’t wear a uniform. The players need to execute what he calls, something they did at a high level on Monday against Minnesota.
“That first game, that was us. We didn’t execute well. We didn’t tackle well,” Slay said. “It’s not Gannon out there playing. He’s just making the calls. We just gotta execute and we were in a lot of great situations where we just didn’t make the play.
“But tonight it was on the other foot. We had the mindset to come out here and dominate and play this game with a lot of effort and a lot of talent, and guys were just executing their jobs, and that’s what we did. Coach put us in a great position to win.”