Playmaker: The Rise Of Brandon Boykin

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles-Training Camp

On the basketball court is where Al Boykin first really took notice.

Big brother was a high school sophomore and had grown accustomed to having to drag Brandon along with him wherever he went. On this occasion, the setup was a two-on-two game against a couple of older kids in their neighborhood.

“At first, it started out as, ‘Man, I gotta play with my brother. He’s six years younger than us. It might not be much of a game,’ ” Al recalled. “And then we started playing. He was actually killing the other guy. At that point, it was like, ‘Yeah, you could play, bro.’ It was good. And we just rolled it from there.”

Alfred, their father, saw it on the baseball diamond at a much earlier age.

“When he was 5-years-old, I put him in T-ball,” he said. “And I saw that he understood exactly what he needed to do right away. I didn’t have to teach him or anything. He was just 5-years-old, a little kid, and he loved it. …He was a fast learner. He loved sports.”

In every class, there is a kid who seems to win every race. The guy who plays quarterback and shortstop. The one who’s able to climb the ropes with ease, while others struggle to make it past the bottom knot. The first one picked, and the last one standing.

In Fayetteville, Ga., that kid was Brandon Boykin. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Getting Cut By Chip

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

For Emmanuel Acho, cut-down day last year was all positive. The Eagles’ linebacker had played well in the preseason and earned a surprise spot on the 53-man roster.

But things change quickly in the NFL, and two days later, Acho got a call from GM Howie Roseman, telling him the team was letting him go in favor of Najee Goode.

Acho made his way to the NovaCare Complex, but it wasn’t just to turn in his playbook. He met separately with Chip Kelly, Billy Davis and linebackers coach Rick Minter. The process wasn’t exclusive to Acho. The Eagles offer the same courtesy to every player who is let go.

“Obviously every guy that’s here that’s part of the 90-man roster, their lifelong dream is to be an NFL football player,” Kelly said. “To be the one to have to tell them that it’s not gonna happen here is difficult, and it’s something that is inevitable. You have to go from 90 to 75 and from 75 to 53. It’s part of the job, but it’s not a fun part of the job. We make sure that every player meets with me, every player meets with his position coach, every player meets with the coordinator on their side of the ball. You try to be as human as you can with it, but it’s always a difficult time when someone’s goal is to play in this league.” Read more »