Haason Reddick: Home is where the heart is

Haason Reddick: Home is where the heart is

Fittingly, on a hot summer afternoon at Philadelphia City Hall, delegations from both Philly and Camden were on hand to celebrate Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick.

After all, he is truly a native son of both.

The 27-year-old grew up in Camden and made strides as a walk-on across the river at Temple University. On the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum, he was selected in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. In 2022, he signed a three-year deal to come home and play for the Eagles.

His family never left the region. And they were on hand at City Hall on June 10, along with hundreds of others, to welcome Reddick home.

“He’s an exceptional person who knows where he came from and knows what he needs to do to give back,” Camden Mayor Victor Carstarphen said. “I see his dad, Ray, over there. We go way back. To see Haason’s growth since his youth, it’s exciting. We look forward to getting behind him now that he’s a Philadelphia Eagle.”

“It’s always nice to have a fine young man come home and play for us,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said. “And we need an edge rusher to get to the quarterback, especially one with some speed.”

Over the previous two seasons, Reddick is fifth in the NFL with 23.5 sacks and fourth in tackles for loss with 27. He also ranks third in the NFL in that span with eight forced fumbles.

The 6-foot-1, 235-pound linebacker doesn’t want to be labeled a linebacker. In his Twitter bio, he writes that he is a “weapon for the Philadelphia Eagles.” On the eve of his first season in Philly, he’s ready to be a leader and dynamic playmaker for a defense looking to take the next step.

“I’m excited. I feel like I fit in and can be a big piece on this defense. I love the team and I love the coaching staff,” Reddick said.

“I’m in such a great situation right now. I’m happy to be home.”

Reddick’s football journey started in Camden’s youth leagues before playing at Haddon Heights High School. A safety and running back at the time, Reddick played in just four games in his junior and senior high school seasons due to a fractured femur. He was left without any scholarship opportunities.

He went on to attend Temple University in 2012 and struggled his freshman year. His outlook looked bleak before current Panthers head coach Matt Rhule took over the Temple program in 2013. Reddick was moved to outside linebacker and found success on special teams.

Reddick’s strength and quickness proved to be an asset in getting to the quarterback. He earned a hotly contested starting defensive end role in 2015 and broke out for 46 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and five sacks.

Prior to his senior year, Reddick was awarded a single-digit jersey number, an honor bestowed only on the toughest Temple players who stand out as leaders. He recorded 65 tackles, 22.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks as the Owls won the American Athletic Conference, the school’s first conference title since 1967.

A call to the NFL seemed inevitable. Outstanding performances at the 2017 Senior Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine made Reddick one of the fastest risers in the prospect pool.

The 2017 NFL Draft happened to be in Philadelphia, right off the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. With his mother, Raelakia, by his side, Reddick was selected 13th overall in the first round by the Arizona Cardinals.

The Eagles went No. 14. That was not lost on Reddick.

“It was close in 2017,” Reddick said. “Just one election before.”

Without the freakish size of most defensive ends, the Cardinals transitioned Reddick to an off-ball linebacker role. He had trouble finding his footing and didn’t put up the numbers expected of a first-round pick. He started just five games in his third season, and Arizona declined his fifth-year option in 2020.

With his career on the line, Reddick moved to the wing in his fourth season, a role in which he had been successful in college. That success translated.

He recorded team highs with 12.5 sacks and six forced fumbles. He even set a franchise record when he collected five sacks and three forced fumbles in one game against the New York Giants in North Jersey.

Reddick signed with the Panthers in 2021 as a free agent, reuniting with Rhule and several of his Temple coaches and teammates. He proved 2020 wasn’t a fluke by recording 11 sacks and 18 quarterback hits. He overthrew Jalen Hurts twice in the Eagles’ 21-18 win at Carolina.

His NFL journey, like his experience at Temple, was a struggle to prove himself. He was rewarded with a lucrative three-year contract to return home.

“It’s a special thing because I never thought this would happen,” Reddick said. “But now that I’m here, it’s just surreal.

“I’ve been blessed to be where I am right now. It took a lot of hard work to get here, but now that I’m here, it’s about sharing my blessings with other people.”

His mother took out a loan to afford a meal plan for Reddick while he attended Temple without a scholarship. When he felt guilty and wanted to give up, his mother pushed him to keep chasing his dream.

After turning pro, he bought Raelakia a Mercedes-Benz in 2018 for Mother’s Day. Shortly after signing with the Eagles, he bought her a new home.

“I’m just glad I can be around her, take care of her and be closer to her so she can experience this,” Reddick said. “She played such a big role in getting me to where I am today. So for her to be able to reap the benefits of the work she’s put in, it’s beautiful.”

The Camden, New Jersey native is back home

Kiel Leggere/Philadelphia Eagles

Kiel Leggere/Philadelphia Eagles

Kiel Leggere/Philadelphia Eagles

Haason Reddick meets Jordan Mailata

Kiel Leggere/Philadelphia Eagles

Haason Reddick meets Jason Kelce

Kiel Leggere/Philadelphia Eagles

Kiel Leggere/Philadelphia Eagles

Haason Reddick meets Darius Slay and Vice President of Player Performance Ted Rath

Kiel Leggere/Philadelphia Eagles

Kiel Leggere/Philadelphia Eagles

Smile if you are officially coming home

Kiel Leggere/Philadelphia Eagles

Haason Reddick answers questions for the local media

Kiel Leggere/Philadelphia Eagles

Haason Reddick meets the local media

Kiel Leggere/Philadelphia Eagles

Kiel Leggere/Philadelphia Eagles

Chatting with Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro

Kiel Leggere/Philadelphia Eagles

Kiel Leggere/Philadelphia Eagles

Kiel Leggere/Philadelphia Eagles

Playing at Lincoln Financial Field, Reddick went from walk-on to team manager at Temple and found his way onto the NFL radar. Reddick was still a walk-on while reaching all-conference status in his junior season. He finally got a scholarship as a senior. Reddick has visited his alma mater several times to meet with players and offer guidance. He gave several players his personal cell phone number in a visit set up by new Temple Head Coach Stan Drayton.

“He loves Temple and he’ll do anything he’s capable of doing for Temple,” Drayton said. “When he speaks, they listen. And he will speak nothing but the truth.”

“We’re trying to get the program back on track,” Reddick said. “I’m just glad I can be a part of it.”

Off the court, Reddick wants to give back and be “a man of the people.” He donated $15,000 in toys to 200 Camden families last December. He has held several football camps in Camden, including his first as an Eagle in early July. His community service, part of his many ventures with his father, Ray, has earned him the key to the city of Camden and several honors from Philadelphia.

The little things really make Reddick feel at home. He has been able to spend more time with his younger siblings, for whom he would like to be a role model. He has frequented his local Wawa and his favorite cheesesteak spot, Max’s in North Philadelphia.

Reddick is a hometown kid with two hometowns. Standing in front of officials from both cities and looking out at a crowd of fans and cheerleaders from both the Eagles and Temple, Reddick wanted everyone to know he’s back home — and he’s ready to go.

“These people are my people,” Reddick said. “Being back in the community and around some real love, playing for the Eagles and knowing these people support me, that means everything.”

Who is the best coverage linebacker?

Ranking the best linebackers in the NFL Read also : The Boselli series: Michael McCrary.

  • Bobby Wagner, Seattle Seahawks.
  • Fred Warner, San Francisco 49ers.
  • Eric Kendricks, Minnesota Vikings.
  • Lavonte David, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
  • Demario Davis, New Orleans Saints.
  • Darius Leonard, Indianapolis Colts.
  • Deion Jones, Atlanta Falcons.
  • Roquan Smith, Chicago Bears.

Who is the No. 1 linebacker in the nation? 1. Micah Parsons, Dallas Cowboys. The first-ever unanimous Defensive Rookie of the Year has quickly become the standard for linebacker play in the NFL.

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