On his final day as a 32-year-old, Connor Barwin said farewell to the National Football League.
In a post on Instagram, the former Eagles pass rusher wrote, "I'm excited to say I'm moving on to the next chapter of my life. To my coaches, teammates, fans, and family – thank you all! It was an honor to compete on Sundays for the last 10 years."
Barwin spent four seasons with the Eagles from 2013-16, but he's a Philadelphian for life. No, he didn't grow up in the area. Barwin's a Detroit native. He joined the team after four years with the Houston Texans, who made him a second-round draft pick out of the University of Cincinnati in 2009.
An ascending player, Barwin's length and athleticism were a perfect fit as the Eagles transitioned to a 3-4 defense. But the Eagles didn't bank on the leadership that Barwin would provide in the locker room and as a pillar of the community.
After arriving in Philadelphia, Barwin founded the Make The World Better Foundation that is "dedicated to enriching the lives of our youth by providing safe and fun areas for artistic and athletic enjoyment." Even after leaving the Eagles, Barwin continues to hold the foundation's signature fundraiser event, an annual concert, in Philadelphia. The fifth one was held last month and raised nearly $100K for Philadelphia parks. Barwin has helped revitalize three city playgrounds since the foundation was formed.
"You get out of a city what you put into a city," said Barwin. "It's that simple. Why not take advantage of everything a city has to offer? It just makes sense to me ... My dad (Tom) was a city manager (in Detroit), so I gained an appreciation for cities from him. He took me around different cities and pointed out all the differences and great places to go. I really got that from him and just try to embrace wherever I am."
It's one thing for an athlete to make the city his home, but few athletes in Philly sports history have gone to great lengths to truly transform it. Barwin is brotherly love personified.
Now, Barwin was more than an ambassador for the city during his time with the Eagles. He was relentless, flying off the edge, overwhelming offensive linemen with an array of pass rush moves and his 6-4, 260-pound frame. He finished his Eagles career with 31.5 sacks, tied for 15th in franchise history. His 14.5 sacks during his Pro Bowl year of 2014 rank as the 10th most by an Eagle in a single season. He was dependable and reliable.
Barwin may not have been part of the Super Bowl team in 2017, but he helped set the foundation for head coach Doug Pederson and the tremendous chemistry that the title team shared. Barwin spent one season with the Los Angeles Rams and wrapped things up with the New York Giants last year.
As he turns 33, Barwin's football career has come to a close. But luckily for us, that means more time helping to make the world better in the next chapter of his life.