Billy Joel sang a beautifully bittersweet song about the king and the queen going back to the green. It didn’t work out for them because you can never go back there again. But the soulful piano man never won a Super Bowl ring as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles.
If he did, he might change his tune. Players lucky enough to don the midnight green, especially world champions, have a certain staying power. They are Eagles for life and some of them wind up returning to close out their careers. So, excuse Rodney McLeod for getting a bit nostalgic during a recent appearance on NFL Network’s “Good Morning, Football” when the topic of a Philly reunion came up.
Yes, the one-time defensive captain would relish the opportunity to strap on the winged helmet again. He’s an unsigned free agent and the Eagles need a stop-gap safety. It’s almost too perfect.
“You never know what can happen. That would be an amazing finish to my career, I would say,” McLeod said. “To leave and come back it’s like the ultimate story and fairy tale, right? So, you never know what can happen, never can close a door, door might present itself, we’ll see.”
McLeod, a fan favorite and trusted leader, hasn’t received an offer from the Eagles or any other team so far this offseason. Part of the reason is because he’s being picky. And extra patient in free agency, looking for the right fit as he limits his search to championship contenders.
“Just staying patient, I think, and really trying to understand what’s the right fit,” McLeod said. “I’ve played this game for 11 years, going into my 12th season, and the game’s given me a lot but it also takes a lot from me. Time commitment, the physical strain on your body … the mental aspect of it to perform at a high level … so, for me, it’s just trying to figure out what makes sense for not only myself but for my family.”
C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Marcus Epps Exit Stage
McLeod spent the 2022 season with the Indianapolis Colts where he recorded 96 tackles, plus 2 interceptions (1 for a touchdown), 1 fumble recovery, and 8 pass breakups. Prior to that, the 32-year-old started 75 games during six seasons in the City of Brotherly Love. McLeod, who remains rooted to Philly through his charity foundation, would have stayed if the Eagles had offered a contract. They didn’t.
Now, with C.J. Gardner-Johnson and Marcus Epps gone, the stage is set for a welcome-home moment. The Eagles need a starting safety, preferably a veteran leader who knows the organization. That guy is McLeod. He would be a huge get for a team looking to return to the Super Bowl and finish the job.
“I want to go to a contender,” McLeod said. “Somebody who I can compete for a championship with but also who values me for who I am as a player and a man.”
Eagles Introduce Justin Evans at Introductory Presser
The Eagles did make a minor move to address the safety depth chart by inking Justin Evans to a one-year deal. The team introduced him to the media on March 22 during a press conference at the NovaCare Complex.
The 27-year-old revealed he had a “couple options” in free agency but chose Philly because of a gut feeling. Despite a three-year absence from football following a horrific Achilles tendon tear, Evans is ready to make an impact on his new team. He has a chance to start.
“If you watch the tape, you see what type of player you’re getting,” Evans told reporters. “But, just for me, if I had to say it, you’re getting somebody who just wants to compete, wants to be there, wants to have fun, I don’t know … just getting a guy who wants to be here.”