The Eagles players would file into the locker room one-by-one, shoulders slumped, faces pale. Silence, except for the occasional expletive-filled roar followed by the sound of a piece of equipment crashing off the floor and echoing down the hall.
Then Andy Reid to the podium, more and more deflated as the weeks went on, facing the same questions about his inevitable firing and his team’s lack of cohesiveness and competence.
Cue the locker room scene: Cullen Jenkins, bottom lip quivering, the shake noticeable in his voice as he tried to pinpoint the problem. Jeremy Maclin with that one moment where the emotions bubble up and he seems close to tears. Brent Celek bewildered and venting his disgust. The same cries over and over…
“We’re more talented than this. If we could just…”
The Eagles had not won since September 30. Starting that next week against Pittsburgh up until this past Sunday, all they knew was losing.
“I almost forgot what it felt like,” said Jason Avant following the Eagles’ dramatic 23-21 win over the Bucs that snapped the eight-game skid.
Instead of a tension-wrapped quiet, the halls were filled with yelps. Christina Lurie came over and hugged Tammy Reid, then the two stood side-by-side and congratulated each player as they walked into the locker room. Dennis Kelly was just about to turn in when King Dunlap shouted out, “DK!” Kelly went back to greet the fellow giant, and the two jumped into the air for their version of a chest bump.
Reid to the podium, some life zapped back into him.
“Listen, we’re all happy,” he said. “We haven’t won a game in two months. We’re stinking happy. And then to win it that way when it looked like it was going the opposite direction and momentum switched back and we were able to capture it, I think that’s big. Everybody’s emotional.”
Including rookie quarterback Nick Foles, whose first NFL win turned out to be not just dramatic, but cathartic.
“There are so many emotions going through me,” said Foles. “I’m so excited for my teammates, me, Coach Reid, our organization, our owners. It’s just very special, very humbling.”
The win was not course-altering, at least for the short-term. The Eagles are not going to the playoffs and Reid is no closer to saving his job. Fates appear sealed.
Sunday, though, served as a welcomed distraction from the cold reality of this season.
“They’re excited,” said Reid. “You go two months without winning a game in Philadelphia, that’s a tough thing, man. I’m proud of these guys, just staying true to themselves and battling like crazy and coming up with a win down here.”
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