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OG Moffitt's Remarkable Journey Continues

Posted Aug 2, 2015

This is a second lease on his NFL life, John Moffitt knows, and he’s going to enjoy every bit of it. Where he once battled and resisted and at times hated the grind of an NFL Training Camp, he is now embracing every rep, every meeting and every part of the process with the Eagles ...

This is a second lease on his NFL life, John Moffitt knows, and he’s going to enjoy every bit of it. Where he once battled and resisted and at times hated the grind of an NFL Training Camp, he is now embracing every rep, every meeting and every part of the process with the Eagles.

“The whole thing has been a surreal experience, but now I’m really enjoying it and appreciating the work and appreciating the structure of everything,” said Moffitt, who signed with the Eagles on June 29, continuing an improbable journey that has taken him from the life of an NFL starter who battled demons off the field, to an out-of-work young man searching to find himself, to a sober man who is back in the big leagues proving something to his team, and to himself. “You dread going to camp. That’s the way I felt before. Now I’m enjoying the little things.”

That Moffitt is here is, in itself, remarkable. A third-round draft pick by Seattle in 2011 from the University of Wisconsin, Moffitt played two seasons with the Seahawks before being traded to Denver in 2013. Moffitt played two games for the Broncos that season and then quit the game. Didn’t love it anymore. Didn’t like it a bit.

Turns out he didn’t like a whole lot more than the game of football. A drinking problem and a substance-abuse problem dragged down Moffitt to the point where he just walked away from the game, from the fame, from the money, from the challenge.

“I think it was a whole slew of things. It’s hard to sum it up in one fell swoop,” he said. “Being someone with a past drinking problem and past substance-abuse problem, it does not make any of the rest of your life any easier. It takes away from everything. Now I’m totally clean and sober, I find I enjoy things much easier. Even in difficult times I can process them much better and move through them.”

Moffitt is clean now and has been for more than a year. He’s embracing the challenge of making the Eagles – who signed him after an interview and coming away convinced that Moffitt was ready to take advantage of a second chance – and of winning a job at right guard and rebuilding what was once a promising NFL career. He stepped onto the field on a beautiful Sunday at the NovaCare Complex and loved the feeling of football once again.

It had been a long, long time since he had that feeling.

“I got sober 15 months ago and about eight months in, I started to get the itch again,” he said. “I said to myself, ‘Maybe it can be different this time. Maybe if I give myself a better opportunity, things won’t seem so drastic.' I just felt like a different person. I still do. I wanted to experience the game in a different way, and here I am.

“I don’t look back too much, honestly. I have kind of moved on. I’ve become a different person. I live a different life. I’m concerned with moving forward.”

Moving forward means being right physically, which Moffitt is at 6-4 and 310 pounds. He spent four months doing Jay Glazer’s MMA workouts in Hollywood and is ripped and stronger in his base and right enough to pass the rigorous conditioning test that every player must pass before he’s permitted to practice.

“He's an unbelievable teammate. The guy builds camaraderie every time you're around him. He's a funny guy, a jokester, but you can tell when he's out here that he's very talented and very serious at the same time,” said tight end Zach Ertz, who trained with Moffitt and Glazer over the summer. “He's had a lot of success in the NFL. We want guys that are going to be here each and every day grinding with us and showing us what the great teams do. He's a guy with that experience. He's got to be in great shape, first and foremost, each and every day. We're going to get a lot of plays in. He's open to it. He's open to anything right now. That's what is most encouraging."

The football part is coming. It’s impossible to replicate blocking a quick-as-a-cat 310-pound defensive tackle who has the power of a lion. Moffitt is catching up on how the Eagles do things, having missed the entire spring.

But he’s happy, he’s taking the right mental approach and he’s giving everything he can give. That’s a win in the personal-development column.

“I’ve remolded my body. Obviously, I was out of shape and I was soft from not doing anything. I feel great now. Better than I felt before. From a football standpoint, I think you have to do that by playing football. You can’t simulate that. You have to be on the field playing football.

“It’s been pretty special and I’m very happy to be back.”

Moffitt went into rehab on April 13, 2014 and he admits there are moments of temptation. He then goes through the progress. “Can you handle one drink, because that’s what you want,” he said. “The answer is always ‘no.’ I’ve come to that conclusion. That’s pretty much the answer.

“Life is so much better now. I’m enjoying every bit of this. Not everybody gets a second chance, so I’m going to make the most of it. There have been a lot of ups and downs through this whole journey, and you will see how much I love it by how I play the game.”

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