McCown’s Gravitational Pull Reaches Philadelphia
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — There is going to be at least one thing in common for any quarterback who can last 18 years in the NFL: others gravitate toward them.
That stood out on the first day Josh McCown walked into the Eagles' locker room when his former teammate from Chicago, receiver Alshon Jeffery, broke into a large media scrum in front of the 40-year-old's locker by standing on a chair to get his own question in:
“How was No. 17 as a basketball player?”
McCown, an avid hoops player himself who used to play with Jeffery in their Windy City days didn't miss a beat: “He’s not bad. He’s got some skills. But I could lock him down if it was one-on-one.”
The playful gibe was quickly replaced by the underlying respect when McCown was asked what his new number will be in Philadelphia.
“I’ll wear 18,” he said, “mostly because it’s my 18th year but also because I can stand next to 17 [Jeffery] in the team photo and not look so bad.”
Everyone around the NFL likes McCown, through every stop in what resembles the itinerary of a 1970s territorial pro wrestler, Arizona, Detroit, Oakland, Miami, Carolina, Hartford (when he had a cup of coffee in the old UFL), San Francisco, Chicago (where he crossed paths with Jeffery), Tampa Bay, Cleveland, North Jersey and now Philadelphia.
What McCown hasn't done while forging all those relationships is win a championship and that's why the Eagles, as a perceived Super Bowl contender, were able to lure McCown out of the broadcast booth before his second career ever started.
“To be with people that have won, and won recently and won championships, that’s something I think we all want to be a part of," McCown explained. "So for me, looking over the course of my career, and only having had a couple situations like that, as I’m learning, and it’s still early, but probably none as solid as this one. It was intriguing and obviously enticing. Good enough to get me to come out [of retirement].”
As for what the Eagles are getting, it's the peace of mind of 76 NFL starts vs. 25 career passes for the currently injured Nate Sudfeld, the presumed backup to Carson Wentz before McCown arrived.
"[The Eagles] are getting a great player but [also] a great human being, a great leader, an all-around great guy,” Jeffery gushed. “Josh is awesome. I don’t know one person that I know that could say one thing bad about him. He’s a great father, he’s a great human being. He’s just a guy you love being around. He comes in the room, everyone just gravitates to him."
Now you can add the Eagles to McCown's gravitational pull.
"It kind of falls in line with not only the injury situation, but also the fact that when we have an opportunity to add a little value, depth and competition to that spot, a veteran guy who has been around the league," coach Doug Pederson explained. "I have said this all along, the quarterback position is not immune to any of this. That's why we did it. We're excited to get [Josh] in here, get him caught up, and see what he can do."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen