Prior to the NFL Draft, linebacker Simoni Lawrence worked out at his alma mater, Upper Darby High School, just west of Philadelphia where he earned all-state honors as a running back.
At the time, not even Lawrence could have known that just a few months later he would be suiting up and playing for the hometown team he grew up cheering.
"I can't even tell you how many ticket requests I've gotten," said the rookie. "It's going to be an extra special night for me."
After he left Upper Darby, Lawrence went to Valley Forge Military Academy for two years before transferring to the University of Minnesota. With the Gophers, Lawrence compiled 151 tackles, six sacks, two picks and two touchdowns in two seasons. He was a defensive co-captain last year as he earned All-Big 10 honorable mention accolades.
However, the 6-1, 221-pound Lawrence didn't hear his name called on draft weekend. He signed with the Rams as a free agent, but was released on May 25. On June 8, the Eagles brought him in. Lawrence's range in coverage fits the mold of what the Eagles want out of their linebackers.
Growing up, Lawrence used to cheer the Eagles on at Veterans Stadium. He has never seen the Eagles play at Lincoln Financial Field. Tonight, his family will be there to watch him.
"It's great because I'm going to get a lot of playing time," said Lawrence, who is listed as the third-team weakside linebacker. "It's going to be a great opportunity for me to help the team win and leave an impression on the coaches."
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 10:00 a.m., August 13