Darius Slay is hoping his third season in Philadelphia ends with a chip, the one thing that has eluded him for 10 years. And being able to accomplishment that lifelong dream in a midnight green jersey, alongside a tight-knit group he calls family, would be the icing on the cake. Slay and the Eagles fear nothing.
It’s not just lip service for Slay who penned an emotional letter to Philly for The Players’ Tribune. In it, the All-Pro cornerback explains his long journey to get to this point and how he didn’t see eye to eye with former Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia. Then Slay was traded to Philly, the place he was meant to be: “I’m gonna be Slay no matter what. And the thing about this team, man, they accepted me off the bat.”
The Eagles have embraced Slay’s leadership style and goofy personality, something that really hit home when he was named a team captain. His strong connection with Nick Sirianni – “the fact that I’m finally accepted by my head coach,” Slay wrote – was confirmed at training camp when he got the news:
Coach and everybody knew how big it was for me. They knew the work I put in. My teammates will be the first to tell you, “Slay might joke a lot, but when Slay is competing?? He’s locked in. He knows what his job is, and he’s willing to sacrifice whatever to win.”
That’s the thing that makes this team great as a whole. We’re not pointing any fingers — this is not a me-me-me group. Nobody over the squad. One band, one sound. You know what I’m saying?
Slay’s Beef with Matt Patricia Well Documented
The fact that Slay mentioned his old coach without saying his name speaks volumes. Plenty of ink has been spilled over their feud in Detroit and how it expedited his exit. Patricia embarrassingly called Slay out in a team meeting, then took shots at his habit of exchanging jerseys after every game, win or loss. Slay was also upset at the Lions front office for not negotiating a contract extension to make him one of the highest-paid cornerbacks in the league. Eventually, he was traded to the Eagles.
Now he’s chasing a championship in Philadelphia and he couldn’t be happier. He warned Eagles fans to take it one game at a time and, if everything goes according to plan, everyone can celebrate after three more victories. The Eagles might not be underdogs, but they still carry huge chips on their shoulders:
That’s the thing about this squad. We’ve all had that chip on our shoulder at some point or another. Especially with Hurts — everybody thinking he wasn’t ready for this job, ready for this spotlight. He’s proving everybody wrong. He’s a franchise quarterback.
We never went into this season thinking we were underdogs. We don’t fear nothing. So, I’m ready. I’m damn proud of this group — this family.
Slay shared one final message with Eagles fans ahead of Saturday night’s divisional playoff game: “We’ll see you this weekend. Y’all know how we coming.”
Eagles Beat Lions to Start Championship Run
The Eagles defeated the Lions 38-35 in Week 1 to start their latest championship run. It was a hard-fought game, perhaps a bit closer than people expected at the time. It marked the second time in three years that Slay had exacted revenge on the franchise that drafted him.
Personal glory aside, Nick Sirianni made sure to go on record with his feelings about Slay prior to kickoff on September 11 by telling the Detroit media how important Slay was to the Eagles.
“He wants to help his teammates. He loves his teammates. He wants to help his teammates. That’s just something I’ve noticed every day since I’ve been here, is that love for his teammates,” Sirianni told reporters on September 9. “When I talked to the Detroit media yesterday, I made sure they knew that as well because I know that he used to be in that organization. I’m just so happy he’s on this team. He’s a great player, great teammate, great leader.”