Following the 2010 season, defensive end Jason Babin was a marquee free agent for the first time in his NFL career.
Babin wanted two things from his next NFL team - he wanted to play in a similar scheme as the Titans. And he wanted to go to a winning team with a high-powered offense.
The Philadelphia Eagles presented both.
The Eagles lured defensive line coach Jim Washburn earlier this offseason. Washburn was Babin's position coach with the Tennessee Titans in 2010. Babin, who had been drafted in the first round by the Houston Texans in 2004 and had bounced around the league, credited Washburn with breathing life into his career.
"The thing that I'd like to stress about him the most is that everyone sees he's rough, tough, in your face," Babin said. "Honestly, the thing I like the most is he doesn't have a filter. You guys are out there and you see how it is. Sometimes the truth hurts, but it's truth.
"At the same time, you do what you're supposed to. You bust your butt, go as hard as you can to the best of your ability and make plays, he's going to hug you up like you're his lost son. You get both aspects and a lot of time you don't see that about him."
The Eagles also boast an offense that ranked among the best in the league last season.
"From a selfish and D-lineman point of view, if your guys are scoring points and you have (QB Michael) Vick and all the other weapons in the backfield and the wide receivers, you're going to have to score a lot of points," Babin said. "The other team is going to have to throw the ball a lot to catch up, but guess what? We can rush the passer all day and be just like (Colts defensive ends) (Dwight) Freeney and (Robert) Mathis. That was another big incentive for me."
For Babin, this marks the second stint for him in Philadelphia. He signed with the Eagles as a free agent before the 2009 season and played in 12 games, recording 2.5 sacks.
Babin left the Eagles via free agency after the season and signed with the Titans, where he experienced the finest season of his career. Babin collected 12.5 sacks and earned a selection to the Pro Bowl for the first time. In fact, he was named the 85th-best player by NFL Network's Top 100 Players of 2011.
Even though he was one of the league's most dominant defensive ends in 2010, Babin stressed that he is glad that Washburn wasn't his coach for his entire career.
"I had to earn my stripes basically back to the NFL to get the opportunity to play again helped me cultivate who I am as a person, father, husband, and football player," Babin said. "If it wasn't for all those things, I wouldn't be the person I am today and I wouldn't be the football player I am today."
And maybe, he would never have become the marquee free agent that he was.
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