This season, most Eagles fans have wanted the team to go out on top for the 3 older players; Kelce, Graham, and Cox. While not as dramatic, it has been a rallying cry for some. It is also the reason they came back to endure another grueling season. Both Brandon and Fletcher took less money to come back for one more shot at the prospect of winning another Championship together.
A common phrase in sports has been to “Win one for the Gipper”. The genesis of that legendary phrase derives from when Notre Dame head coach, Knute Rockne, told his players the sad story of George Gipp. As the legend goes, George Gipp was in the hospital and before he passed away he asked Rockne to have the team “Win just one for the Gipper”. So during halftime of a Notre Dame versus Army game, Rockne asked the team to do just that.
After back-to-back embarrassing team performances to end the regular season, the duo will have that chance starting this weekend in Tampa.
This is Brandon’s 14th season with the Philadelphia Eagles, he is the elder statesman, the current longest-tenured Philadelphia Eagle. He’s also the longest-tenured professional athlete in the entire city.
He’s the guy who has moved on from last year’s Super Bowl and is looking forward to the opportunity to play in another.
“Last year is last year and we’re trying to create something special this year. Our focus is on what we’re doing now and I know we are all excited about getting it going.”
He is also the player who knows his time in the NFL won’t last forever
“I’m soaking it all up one day at a time. I’m more so trying to finish the deal on this season. We’ll talk more as that goes, but I’m trying to stop time as much as I can.”
Brandon wants to leave behind a legacy, like his mentor Trent Cole, who he credits for showing him the “Eagle Way”.
He patterned his routines and work ethic after Trent, and he is paying it forward.
“It’s just showing them how to practice. You’ve got to make sure you bring it every day. Some days, you don’t have it. You’ve got to make sure you can talk about it and tell people, ‘I need you. Finish the practice the right way.’ It’s more how we carry ourselves every day, our regimen.”
B.G. is known for always wearing a smile and for sharing good-natured smack talk, but most importantly he’s known for putting in the work.
“I told the guys to make sure you have fun when it’s time to have it, but when we’re between those lines or in those meetings, let’s make it about what we do well so we can carry out that game plan.”
Despite making, arguably, the biggest play in Eagles history during the Super Bowl era, he wants more.
His love of the game, desire, and passion to win are fueling another postseason grind.
“The team that we have right now. So lucky, so fortunate to be on this team.”
And the team is lucky to have you.
Many thought that last season would prove to be Fletcher’s swansong with the Eagles, but the 6 x Pro Bowler was back for his 12th season.
Back with his longtime teammate and friend, Brandon Graham.
“I tell a lot of people, I feel like me and B.G. have been married for 11 years now. Some of the things he does, it’s just second nature.”
Sharing laughs and fun stories is second nature with them.
They share lockers next to one another and Fletch shared that not too long ago he reminded B.G. to brush his teeth.
Always laughing, but also putting in the work and giving back.
Passing the torch is a theme for Fletcher too. He has been spending a lot of his time with rookie extraordinaire, Jalen Carter.
Carter described what Fletch has meant to him.
“Fletch is a very good guy. He talks to me every day, calls me. Even when we’re on break, he was calling me every day, checking on my weight. He’s been doing that ever since.”
Cox also plays the role of mentor to the other young players.
“Just try to stay on your same routine. It’s going to be hard, but don’t change nothing. I just try to tell the guys just remain the same.”
Great advice from the best Philadelphia DT of this millennium.
The Eagles’ Dynamic Duo:
Both future Eagle Hall Of Famers have spent this season mentoring, but also appreciating the time they have together.
They share a friendly rivalry for who will end up with more sacks during their Eagles career. Graham currently leads with 73 to Fletcher’s 70. Fletch would point out he has compiled his in 12 years not over 14, like Brandon.
While they always have a smile on their face and are having a good time, they also have a hunger in their hearts to win. Both are Super Bowl Champions, and both want one more chance at the NFL glory that comes with raising the Lombardi Trophy!
Maybe they can share in the smiles, and love, of one more celebratory parade down Broad St.
Brandon, Fletcher, and the rest of the Eagles have their chance in front of them on Monday night. Maybe the team can “Win one for the duo”!
As always, thank you for reading.
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AP Photo/Matt Slocum