Trotter, Reese Discuss Hall Of Fame Inductions
The Eagles announced Tuesday night that former linebacker Jeremiah Trotter and radio play-by-play man Merrill Reese would be the newest inductees into the Eagles Hall of Fame later this season. They will officially be honored on November 28 during halftime against the Green Bay Packers.
“When I saw the highlights and you start seeing your ex-teammates,” Trotter said, “you get a little emotional. You start thinking about all the hard work you put in and grinding, going to training camp. I just started thinking about my teammates and how much a part of that honor they are, because without them I wouldn’t be able to have the success that I had. My ex-coaches, Jim Johnson and Steve Spagnuolo and Ron Rivera, Andy Reid — all the system coaches played a big part. And just reminiscent of the days running out of the tunnel, looking around seeing a sea of green and just seeing people go crazy, the fans and how excited they were. It was a great feeling.”
Said Reese: “It’s nice, it really made me happy, and it’s wonderful for Jeffrey Lurie to include me in such a wonderful group. It’s really nice that people appreciate you, and listen I love the fans. I love the fact that I broadcast for an audience that loves this football team that is passionate and they care, and it’s the greatest job in the world.”
The two had much to say about the fans. When Trotter played with the Redskins in 2002 and 2003, he said it was tough for him because he knew where his home and heart were. That all change when he re-signed with the Eagles in 2004.
“When I came back in ’04,” he said, “that was one of the best things that ever happened to me. I always felt like I had a great connection with the fans and I still feel that way. I’m excited to be going into the Eagles’ hall, the fans are just as much a part of this honor as I am, so I was gonna just send out my appreciation for everything. All the days they sat out in the cold weather, in the sun, cheered us on when we didn’t play well, no matter what, they were right there each and every week. They lived with us and they died with us. To all the fans, I appreciate you guys.”
During those two years in D.C., the Eagles lost both NFC Championship games at home. Trotter believes that he would have made a difference in the outcomes of both games if he was playing in them.
“I believed I would have made some of those plays,” he said. “But you will never know. I know the Eagles went out and played hard and it was tough losses for those guys at home…I believed I really would have made a difference, I really could have helped in some sort of fashion, but win the game, I don’t know.”
Reese, who said calling games is his favorite thing to do, doesn’t want to stop what he’s been doing for 40 years. When calling games, he tries to give the listener a sense of how the fans are feeling at the stadium.
“The feelings that I have are not unlike the feelings of our fans,” Reese said. “The fact that when I feel something, when something goes awry, I can sense the fans feel the same thing. I grew up in this area, that’s one of the advantages of doing the games of the team you grew up loving. From the time you were a little kid, from the time your dad parked you next to the radio and you would listen to Bill Campbell do the games. This is in my blood, I love it and when I speak with the fans, I’m one of them.
“I hunger for this team to achieve something really special. Not just go to a Super Bowl, but win the Super Bowl. So we all share that, yet at the same time, these are fans who boo when things go awry, not because they are disrespectful of the team, but because they love this team so much and they show their passion, they show their hurt. And it would be disingenuous of me to paint rosy pictures when things are not rosy, when they’re not going well.
“So you call it as you see it, you try to be fair, and you try to communicate what the feeling is at the stadium with the listener at home. But it all has to do with the fact that we feel the same thing deep down in our hearts.”
With regards to this upcoming season, the two each had something positive to say about the team. Trotter believes Sam Bradford will continue the momentum he had in the last six games of last season and have a very good 2016. Reese is excited that the team has a red zone threat in Dorial Green-Beckham, and thinks the team can compete in the hunt for an NFC East title.
“I think this team can be competitive in the NFC East because I don’t see anybody, Giants, Redskins, Cowboys in this NFC East, that you would put into the category of a real juggernaut,” Reese said. “And I think this team is going to be better than last year’s team, and I think they can compete. I think they can win the NFC East if a lot of things go well.”