Haason Reddick was born and raised in New Jersey, right over the Ben Franklin Bridge where he grew up staring at the Philadelphia skyline. He played his college ball at Temple and Lincoln Financial Field was his home stadium. Now he’ll be playing under those same lights as a professional.
Reddick inked a three-year, $45 million contract with the Philadelphia Eagles in free agency. The deal includes $30 million in guaranteed money and carries a max value of $49.5 million, according to NFL Media’s Mike Garafolo. Some have called the contract a “steal” for a 27-year-old pass rusher in the prime of his career. He’s happy to be home.
“Man, it’s exciting to be home,” Reddick told reporters. “Thrilled when I realized I’d be coming here. I was overwhelmed with emotion, to be closer to my family, and to be able to play in the stadium where I spent my whole college career, in front of the fans that watched me grow as a player. It’s a wonderful thing, it’s a beautiful thing for me, and I’m just thankful for the opportunity.”
Reddick has 23.5 sacks over the past two seasons while playing in a hybrid linebacker-edge rusher type of role. He doesn’t yet know how the Eagles are going to use him, but he plans to make his presence felt.
“I’m still growing in this thing, I’m just getting started,” Reddick said. “I don’t think I’ve tapped into a lot of potential yet and by God’s will I just hope that I can continue to ascend.”
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Bulking Up, Ready to ‘Move Guys Out of My Way’
Reddick came out of Temple with a reputation for being a “dynamic playmaker,” one filled with raw athleticism and untapped potential. He weighed 237 pounds and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.52 seconds at the NFL Scouting Combine. He has since bulked up 242 pounds, with plans to get to 250 pounds as long as the extra weight doesn’t affect his speed.
“I want to see how I move around with that weight. I want to keep my speed, my bend, those are assets to my game,” Reddick said. “I wanted to open up my rush plan a little bit more. I wanted to move guys out of my way at my will whenever I wanted to.”
Reddick went 13th overall in the 2017 NFL draft which was held on the Art Museum Steps in downtown Philly. He went one spot before the Eagles selected Derek Barnett.
“It was crazy to see how close I was to being home,” Reddick said.
It’s clear Reddick prioritized coming home when he hit free agency, instructing his agent to work something out with the Eagles. The Camden native had other offers on the table, although he wouldn’t go into detail about them. Now he enters the pressure cooker that is Philadelphia. It doesn’t bother him.
“I’m not really worried about that,” Reddick said. “I’m going to continue to be who I am and continue to do the same things that have allowed me to have success. And continue to bring that attitude, that hunger, that underdog mentality here, and I’m going to continue to do what I do best.”
Linebacker or Edge Rusher or Hybrid Player?
Don’t go sticking a label on Reddick who played outside linebacker in Carolina’s 3-4 scheme last season. Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon hasn’t yet identified what role Reddick will take on in his scheme-less defense. Player and coach will figure that out once the pads come on.
“We’ll get to the X’s and O’s once we get to OTAs and training camp and get to installation,” Reddick said. “But I’m a versatile player and so far, it’s just being able to use me to my strengths.”
He can drop back in coverage as a linebacker. He can rush the quarterback as an edge rusher. Reddick’s versatility has always been his biggest selling point. And one thing is certain, the former Temple standout is going to create havoc for opposing quarterbacks wherever he lines up.
“I’m faster than traditional edge rushers at the end of the day,” Reddick said. “I have an underdog mentality, I’m a hard worker, and, at the end of the day, size doesn’t matter. You line ’em up in front of me and I’m going to do the best I can to beat ’em.”