New Eagles linebacker Corey Nelson could have remained in Denver where he spent the first four years of his NFL career.
However, he feared that he would be labeled as nothing more than a role player. He was willing to bet on himself by signing a one-year deal with the Eagles for an expanded role on defense and special teams.
"I wanted to break the mold of me being a second-string linebacker. I didn't want to have that title. I kind of wanted to go out on a limb and show people that I can be a starter in this league," Nelson said at his introductory press conference on Thursday. "The Eagles gave me the opportunity to be able to compete, to work hard, to try to earn that right."
A seventh-round pick out of Oklahoma in 2014, Nelson appeared in 53 regular-season games and four postseason contests, including the team's victory in Super Bowl 50 over the Carolina Panthers. Nelson recorded 88 defensive tackles (58 solo), six passes defensed, and 18 special teams tackles while in Denver.
The 6-1, 236-pound Nelson will battle to start at the weakside linebacker spot. Nelson started in five games in his career, all in 2016 which was his best season. He suffered a bicep injury five games into the 2017 campaign and was placed on Injured Reserve. He said that he's at 90 percent right now but will be ready for the start of the offseason conditioning program next month.
"It's the perfect opportunity to be able to show people my skills and what I'm capable of, how hard I work, how dedicated I am to perfecting my craft," he said.
In addition to the opportunity in Philadelphia, he admired its defense from afar.
"It's perfect for a guy like me who can fly around with my type of speed and make plays," Nelson said. "These guys are the real deal. They run to the ball. They all hustle. They all get excited when one another makes plays. They're very selfless and I love that."
Check out photos from the arrivals, signings, and press conferences of the newest Philadelphia Eagles.