Reed Blankenship ready to ‘Play his heart out’ for the Philadelphia Eagles

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Dolphins vs patriots eagles reed blankenship
New England Patriots tight end Hunter Henry (85) is pursued by Philadelphia Eagles safety Reed Blankenship, left, as he scores a touchdown on a pass from quarterback Mac Jones in the first half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Reed Blankenship still figures to be a starter this season in a revamped secondary predicated on violence and swagger. He’ll be stepping back into a key role at safety after inking a contract extension that keeps him in Philadelphia through the 2025 season.

Blankenship, who went undrafted out of Middle Tennessee in 2022, addressed reporters on April 2 to discuss his expectations in new coordinator’s Vic Fangio defense as well as how the team plans to adapt to all the roster turnover. First and foremost, the 25-year-old expressed excitement to wear an Eagles’ uniform for the foreseeable future.

Reed Blankenship on extending his stay & reuniting with an old friend

“I’m grateful for the opportunity. I want to be in Philly, I want to play for Philly, and that speaks more than just getting the contract,” Reed Blankenship said. “I love football. I love the way these fans cheer for us and how they critique us. I want to play here for as long as I can.”

Blankenship is expected to be one-half of an aggressive defensive back duo, teaming up once again with C.J. Gardner-Johnson, in what could be one of the most violent tandems in the NFL.

“He’s a baller,” the former UDFA said of Gardner-Johnson. “He’s one of those instinctive guys. He makes all these plays and we need that, and we need his attitude, too. It’s going to be great having him back and what he brings to the table.”

What about the new rules?

Both players are unapologetically violent, borderline savage — although they will have to delicately balance the league’s new policy on hip-drop tackles. The move was deemed too dangerous after research showed it caused lower extremity injuries at a rate 20 times higher than other tackles. According to Blankenship, fans can expect to see a lot more penalty flags and fines in 2024.

Eagles reed Blankenship
PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 12: Philadelphia Eagles safety Reed Blankenship (46) warms up during pre-season game between the New York Jets and the Philadelphia Eagles on August 12, 2022 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia PA. ( Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

“I’m not going to change the way I tackle,” Reed Blankenship said. “Personally, I don’t know what they kind of want us to do in this situation. At some point, you have to bring the guy down eventually … you got to bring them down any way possible.

“We’re not meaning to injure anybody but you want to play the game how it was made to be played, you want to be physical and violent. It’s going to be tough. I feel like there’s going to be a lot more flags thrown and fines given out, more than they should, that’s my personal opinion … I mean, it’s hard when it’s a violent sport to being with.”

Reed Blankenship Underwent Groin Surgery, Feeling Great

Reed Blankenship underwent a minor surgery on his groin to repair a nagging issue that hindered him in the 2023 regular-season finale. He called it a “freak ordeal” that he needed to get fixed. No worry, Blankenship is feeling fine.

Reed blankenship
Philadelphia Eagles safety Reed Blankenship celebrates after their win in the NFC Championship NFL football game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2023, in Philadelphia.AP Photo/Seth Wenig

“It was a personal decision whether or not to do it. Right now I feel great, I’m pretty much 100% back to normal,” Reed Blankenship explained. “I’m ready to go. I’m excited to show what I can do.”

He also received a nice little reward for his stellar play over the past two seasons in the form of a $923,000 bonus under the NFL’s performance-based pay distribution. It was the second-highest amount among eligible players.

“Funny story, my agent actually texted me like the chart, and it was on April 1, so I was like, you gotta be kidding me, right? Like, this is a joke,” Blankenship said. “I’m just fortunate, man. I’m not going to give that up for anything. I’m going to play my heart out as much I can and for as long as my body can take it.”

And he’s excited to do it under new coordinator Vic Fangio’s watch in 2024. The 65-year-old defensive guru commands a lot of respect around the league — maybe to the point of curmudgeonly at times — and the Eagles are poised to buy into what the old man is selling.

“He’s one of those old school guys, that wants his players to be nitty gritty and play football for what it means,” Blankenship said. “He’s going to have those players ready to go and we’re all excited to get this going.”

AP Photo/Michael Dwyer