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Early Birds: Casey, Graham First To Work

Posted Nov 29, 2013

Many people work from 9 AM to 5 PM every day, but how many people sleep from 9 PM to 5 AM?

Tight end James Casey follows that schedule strictly, and even though he is only in his first season with the Eagles, he has become well-known for being the first player to arrive at the NovaCare Complex every day.

“I get in around 5:45 or 6,” Casey said. “I don’t think there is anybody else in the building. I might be the first. There may be some strength guys in there working out, but I’m one of the first guys here. They always say to try to be the first one in and last one to leave, but I take pride in it. I’ve done it my entire career. For four years in Houston, I was always the first guy in the building. It’s just something that I feel is kind of important. I’m kind of an early riser and I want to be here and get prepared. I’ll come in and watch film and those different types of things, but I think it’s helped me to last this long in the NFL, so I’m going to keep doing it to make this NFL thing last as long as possible.”

Casey wasn’t always been an early bird, but he quickly adopted the new routine when playing the game of football became his occupation. After stopping for a quick cup of coffee on his way in, Casey commits the rest of his work day to being the best that he can be.

“When I first got to the league, I had a big chip on my shoulder and I still do, and I always try to carry that chip around that you have to work harder than everybody else and try to do more than everybody else,” said Casey. “I try to live by the motto that to achieve what others don’t, you have to do what others won’t, so I take that philosophy into everything and I try to get here as early as possible.”

Linebacker Brandon Graham has unofficially secured the first player-designated parking spot right next to the main walkway each morning ("Oh yeah, that's my spot, man"), but he admitted that he can't beat Casey to the office.

“He’s a beast. Every morning I try to beat him, but I can’t get up that early,” said Graham, who arrives between 6:30 and 6:45. “I’m just trying to get a little extra in. I want to try to show (the coaches and my teammates) that I’m here to work. I might not be the last person in here, but I get my work done when I’m here.”

Graham admitted that he has not always been a first-one-in type, but that he re-dedicated himself in the offseason as he got ready to transition to Bill Davis’ 3-4 defense.

“It was something where I looked at myself and asked, What can I do better?” Graham said. “That was one of the things I could do better, make sure I’m here – or at least try to be here before everybody.”

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