The Eagles filled the open spot on their roster Wednesday when they claimed tackle Brett Toth off waivers from the Arizona Cardinals.
The 6-6, 304-pound Toth originally signed with the Eagles during Training Camp in 2019 after he was granted a waiver that allowed him to postpone his military obligations until after his football career is over. Toth played in the preseason, but was released during the final roster cutdown. He was claimed by the Arizona Cardinals where he was inactive for six games before being placed on the Non-Football Injury list with an illness for the remainder of the season. He was on the Cardinals' Injured Reserve list with a hamstring injury until he was waived with an injury settlement on Tuesday.
A second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, Toth hadn't played since the 2018 Senior Bowl prior to signing with the Eagles – a span of 18 months. He was 290 pounds when he signed with the Eagles. The ability to learn from Offensive Line Coach/Run Game Coordinator Jeff Stoutland is one of the primary reasons why he initially signed with the Eagles.
Following his graduation, Toth spent the 2018 season as a graduate assistant at Army, helping coach the Black Knights to the most wins in a single season in program history with 11. He turned his focus to his military career, taking the Basic Officer Leadership Course at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. An engineering officer, Toth learned everything from demolition to project management to construction. Upon completion, Toth earned a platoon leader role with the 3rd Chemical Brigade doing Basic Combat Training.
"I was adamant about worrying about my military obligations first as well as what my duty title was," said Toth, when he first signed in 2019. "I told my battalion commander, my company commander that, first and foremost, I was there to complete my duty. That was going to be my first priority."
A two-year starter for the Black Knights at right tackle, Toth helped anchor the nation's top rushing offense in 2017. More importantly, from a military academy standpoint, Army topped Navy in two consecutive seasons, capturing the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy for the first time in over two decades. The latter of those victories was at Lincoln Financial Field.
"Having played in Lincoln Financial a few times and winning a few games there, I'm ready to be under the lights again," said Toth, whose father, Douglas, is a Navy veteran. "I don't know if it's as crazy as a Philly crowd, but it's been a hell of an atmosphere. That's for sure."
Toth was named to the AP All-Bowl team for his performance in the 2017 Armed Forces Bowl, a 42-35 win over San Diego State where the Black Knights rushed for 440 yards. He played in the Senior Bowl and was invited to the NFL Combine, although he was unable to participate due to a foot injury. He performed at his Pro Day and posted times that would have been among the best for an offensive lineman at the Combine – 5.09-second 40-yard dash, a 4.55-second 20-yard shuttle, and a 7.35-second 3-cone.
An outstanding athlete, Toth was worthy of being selected in the draft. He needed time to develop the finer details of pass protection after playing in a run-heavy, triple-option offense. Toth said at the Senior Bowl that he lined up in pass sets more that week than he did all the previous season. However, Toth's mandatory two-year military commitment was a key reason why he was not chosen in the NFL Draft. That was just fine with the Charleston, South Carolina native who was inspired by the brotherhood and camaraderie he witnessed when he made his official visit to Army while attending West Ashley High School.
"You realize that there's something out there more than football," Toth said. "I saw that West Point was that opportunity to show and use your platform for something. When I went on my official visit there and you meet some of the brotherhood, Chuck Schretzman and Greg Gadson, just guys that have played in the past, it changes your perspective. After going to visit there, there's no doubt that you're going to want to commit."