Nolan Carroll: There’s ‘No Other Place’ Like Philly
Nolan Carroll has only spent two of his six NFL seasons as an Eagle, but his time in Philadelphia has had enough of an impact on him to where he just didn’t feel right leaving for Dallas.
Before re-signing with the Eagles on a one-year, $2.36 million deal, Carroll visited the Cowboys, but it wasn’t the most comfortable trip for the cornerback.
“It was just weird, man,” Carroll said. “Being here and playing here and knowing I played against those guys a few times, it just felt weird to be in that facility and see some of those players — guys that I’ve played against. I just felt like it wasn’t the fit right now. I felt like my fit was right here in Philadelphia.”
After playing in all 16 games in 2014 while starting just one, Carroll started in the first 11 games of 2015. Carroll, who led the Eagles through Week 12 last season in passes defensed (he had 50 percent more than his teammates ranking second), was arguably the team’s best cornerback.
But against the Lions on Thanksgiving, Carroll broke his fibula and suffered some ligament damage, ending his season. Carroll said he’s “feeling good” and “feeling healthy,” but that the toughest part of his recovery isn’t the physical part.
“It’s been more mental than anything else,” Carroll said. “Injuries like that — When you’re finally cleared to do everything, it all becomes mental now and getting past that mental block. That’s what really restricts guys from doing things. You see guys that have ACLs or have shoulders — I’m not saying I have those types of injuries, but when it comes down to that, it’s all the mental game and where you want to push yourself.
“There might be days where you feel like something’s hurting on you and you don’t necessarily want to push it too much, but that’s when you have to push it to make your mind say, ‘Hey, look, you can tolerate this type of pain,’ and then go ahead and do it the next day and the next day and the next day.”
Carroll said he was unsure whether the injury affected his market value in free agency, and that the Byron Maxwell trade — although it surprised him — didn’t play much of a role in his decision. What did impact Carroll returning is the presence of defensive backs coach Cory Undlin, whom Doug Pederson retained and Carroll labeled “one of the best teachers in the NFL.”
Carroll also explained that the length of his contract was his preference, in part so he could prove last season “wasn’t a fluke.” He expects to start, but says that’s always been his approach since joining the Eagles.
And above all, he’s excited about staying in Philadelphia.
“The past few years have been great, honestly,” Carroll said. “I’ve never been a part of anything like this. I’ve never been a part of a city like this where they care about the team so much, they care about the players. It’s the same way for me: I care about the city, I care about the players on this team. That’s why I came back. I felt like there’s no other place like this.”
BENNIE LOGAN UPDATE
Just saw Bennie Logan walking out of NovaCare carrying crutches (not using them). Recently had minor clean out of knee, per source.
— Tim McManus (@Tim_McManus) March 18, 2016