Surely you remember the hit. It was the Divisional round of the 2006-2007 Playoffs between the Eagles and Saints, the most recent playoff meeting between the two sides. On the Saints' first offensive drive, their second play from scrimmage, Drew Brees swung a screen pass to running back Reggie Bush in the flat. In a flash, up came Eagles cornerback Sheldon Brown to deliver the flattening heard round the NFL.
"That's the hardest hit I've ever seen," said
"I was in coverage to hit him myself. I was going to go hit him because he came to my side. I was coming around to go hit him and I just see Sheldon go right by me and ‘Wham,' that's all she wrote. It looked like he went over there and folded a lawn chair up."
With the Saints on their way to Lincoln Financial Field for Saturday night's primetime Wild Card round matchup, we caught up with the man who delivered one of the most famous hits in Eagles history. Driving his R.V. back up to his home in South Carolina after watching his beloved Gamecocks take home the Capital One Bowl in Orlando, Brown remembers the play a little more clearly – and correctly – than Cole.
"Trent said he was on his way to make the tackle? No, he wasn't on his way. The next guy that was in the picture was Jeremiah Trotter, because what happens is Trotter would have been responsible for that coverage," Brown said. "The play was Marques Colston lined up close to the line of scrimmage, and he would go in and he would pick the linebacker or make the linebacker run around him. They would swing the ball to Reggie Bush and now he would be outrunning the linebacker. In the first game we played them, I think Matt McCoy was the guy that was trying to cover him … and they killed us on that play over and over again. What we did on that play was we decided to recognize it between me and Trotter to trade it off, which (defensive coordinator Jim Johnson) allowed us to do throughout the course of the week in practice.
"On that particular play, I'm sure they had worked on it all week, I was able to show man, back off at the end, act like I was covering the receiver but (Brees) would flare it out to Reggie and I would have a free shot to get him. And it worked just like we practiced it."
One of the many beauties of the hit is that it was such a clean blow. Brown did not lead with his helmet nor did he target Bush's head, and the timing of the collision was legal. Ever the skeptic, though, Brown expects that he would have been flagged for such a hit today.
"It was a clean hit, but I'm sure they would have deemed him defenseless at the time," Brown said. "They might say he didn't have an opportunity to make a football move after the catch before I hit him."
Brown still vividly remembers the feeling of colliding with the Saints running back.
"Well, when a guy doesn't see it coming, you don't feel it at all," Brown said. "Like I've said before, it's like running through cardboard boxes. They're light. When a guy can see you coming to hit him, he can brace himself, shift his weight to try to gain an advantage on you. But he totally didn't see that hit coming."
Never shy from contact, Brown was one of the hardest-hitting cornerbacks in the league during his time in Philadelphia. True Sheldon Brown aficionados will recall another hit on an opposing NFC South running back.
(The hit on Reggie Bush) "is one of my favorite plays, but I enjoy my hit on Steven Jackson too because he was 240 pounds," Brown said. "It was one of those things where coach advised the DB's not to go high…. It was just; I was still able to put a big man on his back."
Knowing that Brees and Sean Payton are still running the offensive show for the Saints, Brown says that he wouldn't be surprised to see the same play from the offense on Saturday night. If that's the case,
"If you remember in that Saints playoff run, they ran that same pitch play the next week against the Bears and (Bush) outran (Brian Urlacher) for (an 88-yard) touchdown," Brown recalls correctly. "I'm sure it is (still in their playbook) … with (Darren Sproles). I'm sure they're still running it."
Finally, Brown, a veteran of 10 playoff games with the Eagles, has some parting advice for the many young Eagles preparing to play in their first postseason game in Philadelphia.
"That atmosphere is a college atmosphere, first of all," Brown said. "It's probably as close to a college atmosphere as you're going to get when you're talking about professional team sports. They're die-hard.
"The players have to stick together through thick and thin, no matter how the game goes. There are going to be turnovers, there are going to be changes. No matter what happens throughout the course of the game, it's just the nature of the business. This could be their last game together and they have to go out and cherish the moment … Just go out and fight for the man next to you."
For more from Brown, check back on Saturday morning for more of his playoff memories.
Team Rushing UpdateDespite a valiant effort from
Taking The Eagles To School
All week long, and likely throughout Saturday night's broadcast, you've heard about the connection between the Eagles and Saints quarterbacks. At Westlake High School in Austin, Texas, Foles broke all the passing records initially set by Brees about 10 years earlier.
But Foles and Brees aren't the only two NFL players connected through a common high school. In fact, Saints wide receiver Lance Moore and Eagles practice squad wide receiver
Sticking with football, as a 10th grader,
Jets safety Ed Reed graduated from Destrehan High School just outside New Orleans, as did
"Jon Beason went to the high school I went to my Senior year," Williams said. "Frank Gore went to the high school I went to my Junior year. Johnathan Vilma my sophomore year."
The most interesting connections, though, stretch beyond the football field. Media personalities Chris Myers and Dan Le Betard also attended Chaminade-Madonna, the high school from which Williams graduated. But we can do much better than that.
Taking it up a notch,
"We have Tommy Lee Jones," Acho said, representing St. Mark's School in Dallas, Texas. "We also got Luke and Owen Wilson, except Owen got kicked out for plagiarism sophomore year."
Not everybody can be so lucky with their connections. Take kicker
"There's one girl who's in more of the kind of commercial stuff," Henery said of a classmate. "She's in a 5-hour energy ad. They're walking around the grocery store and she's the mom. But she's my age."
If it's pseudo-celebrities you're looking for,
As hinted at earlier this season,
If music is your thing,
Looking for money? Then look no further than
How about elsewhere around the sporting landscape?
For basketball connections, there's WNBA star Vickie Johnson, who attended the same high school in Louisiana as
What about Foles' Westlake? In addition to Brees, the school also produced Ravens kicker Justin Tucker, former NBA stiff Chris Mihm and MLB closer Huston Street. For sheer volume of athletes, it's tough to top
In the end, though, everyone's high school pales in comparison to Long Beach Poly, the high school that produced
A volume of NFL players? Marcedes Lewis, Willie McGinnest and former Eagle Winston Justice fulfill that requirement. Star baseball players? How about Chase Utley and Tony Gwynn. Yet none of those are even the most influential athletes to have graduated from Long Beach Poly. That honor would go to Billie Jean-King.
But this is no jocks-only list. Apollo Creed and Chubbs Peterson portrayer Carl Weathers is a Long Beach Poly guy, as are Cameron Diaz, Snoop Dogg and Nate Dogg.
As always, click the graphic for a closer look.
Each week, we'll sit down with a member of the Eagles to discuss something beyond the playing field. This week, we stick with the high school theme, with
Mychal Kendricks: Best car?
Kendricks: Car or truck? Either? I don’t want to say somebody and then count them out for something later.
Wulf: You can overlap if someone’s deserving.
Kendricks: Alright, best car? Trent Cole. Ooo no.
Wulf: That’s what I was expecting. What kind of car is it?
Kendricks: He has so many. There’s not one, that’s why he has the best car.
Wulf: Is there one that stands out?
Kendricks: Yeah, right now in this winter condition, there’s this Jeep Rubicon that’s tricked all the way out. Like 26-inch rims. It looks like a toy car. It looks like something that’s out of this world. It’s elevated. It’s got these big rims and about this-much tire, with a matching rim on the back, and the paint job is crazy too.
Wulf: Alright, how about class clown?
Kendricks: Class clown? Chris Polk.
Wulf: Any good reason why?
Kendricks: He’s by far the funniest guy on the team. He has these little impersonations, these little voices that he does, and he can make anybody laugh on the team. It doesn’t matter whether you like his jokes or not, he’s definitely – Hey, who’s the funniest guy on the team?
Patrick Chung: As far as what, though? Jokes or just a funny person? There’s a difference.
Kendricks: Who’s funny as a person and has funny jokes? I say Chris Polk.
Chung: Yeah, Polk’s funny. He has me laughing all the time.
Kendricks: For no reason.
Chung: Clifton (Geathers) is the funniest person.
Wulf: Like Trent (Cole). People just laugh at Trent.
Chung: Trent’s funny too. He’s a funny person.
Kendricks: But Chris has the jokes.
Chung: Yeah, I’ll say Chris.
Wulf: OK, how about smartest?
Kendricks: Ooo. There are a couple of them, man. Outside of football or in football?
Wulf: We’ll say outside of football.
Wulf: Most likely to be a head coach one day?
Kendricks: DeMeco Ryans.
Wulf: Is he the smartest in the meeting room?
Kendricks: No, he told me that one day he wants to coach.
Wulf: Well there you go. Most likely to make their first Pro Bowl next season?
Wulf: Who would you say is the most underrated player on the team?
Kendricks: Underrated? I would say Brandon Boykin.
Wulf: Most likely to play professionally in a different sport?
Kendricks: I want to box. I think me, Mychal Kendricks … Boxing seems fun. I really want to play soccer again. I’d have to lose 20 to 50 pounds.
Wulf: What position did you play?
Kendricks: I played sweeper. Defense.
Wulf: Most likely to be President?
Kendricks: Most likely to be President? I would say
Wulf: Teacher’s pet?
Kendricks: Oh man, I should do Acho for teacher’s pet, but then he can’t be the smartest.
Wulf: It’s ok, you can do both.
Kendricks: Then I would say Najee Goode for the smart guy.
Wulf: Best dancer has to be you, right?
Kendricks: It’s between me and Chris (Polk).
Wulf: Oh he’s good too?
Kendricks: Yeah, and D-Jack too.
Wulf: How about best couple? Are there two guys that are always together?
Kendricks: Matt Barkley and his wife.
Wulf: OK, I was thinking like Donnie Jones and Alex Henery but that’s better. Any good celebrity lookalikes?
Kendricks: (after thinking for a long time) Let’s come back to this one.
Matt Barkley: Riley Cooper and
Wulf: We’ll come back to it. Who’s the best card player?
Kendricks: Jon Dorenbos, that’s easy.
Wulf: Yeah, that’s fair. Who’s the quietest?
Kendricks: Emil (Igwenagu), by far.
Wulf: Yeah, he is quiet. Clumsiest?
Kendricks: Big Mike (
Wulf: Yeah, I can see that. Most likely to win an Academy Award?
Kendricks: I would say me, I want to act, but I don’t want to say me. I’ll say Jon Dorenbos again because he’s into all that entertainment stuff.
Wulf: How about most likely to fall asleep in a meeting?
Kendricks: Trent Cole.
Wulf: Most likely to make the game-winning play?
Kendricks: Brandon Boykin.
Wulf: Yeah, you can’t go wrong with that. Best nickname?
Wulf: Biggest flirt?
Kendricks: Biggest flirt. Biggest flirt would have to be probably Jason Kelce, because he never takes anything too seriously. He’s always wearing like crazy sweaters as conversation starters. He knows exactly what he’s doing.
Wulf: Most school spirit? Like brags about their college the most?
Wulf: Alright last one. Most likely to win an eating contest?
Wulf: Really? He said something about that the other day and I didn’t believe him.
Kendricks: Oh yeah. He’s serious.
Wulf: Alright, thanks.
Kendricks: Hold on, I have the celebrity lookalike. Bennie Logan and Rick Ross.