Linebacker Kiko Alonso and tight end Zach Ertz take in Phillies batting practice before Friday night's 1-0 win over the Atlanta Braves
The first day of free agency was quite the adventure for linebacker Kiko Alonso. The Philadelphia Eagles officially announced the team was trading all-time leading rusher LeSean McCoy to Buffalo to acquire the promising young defensive talent.
"I didn't see myself getting traded," Alonso said. "But it happened and it's a business. I'm happy with where I'm at now, and I can't wait to get to work."
While the runner-up for the 2013 Defensive Rookie of the Year award was surprised with the trade, he was pleased with his move to Philadelphia, truly embracing the City of Brotherly Love. Alonso's older brother, Carlos, is close by in Reading, where he plays second baseman for the Fightin Phils.
"It's awesome. I can't ask for a better situation with him only an hour away and getting to see him play on the weekends," said Alonso, who spent his first weekend in the city watching his brother and the Fightin Phils sweep their home stand against the Richmond Flying Squirrels.
Accompanying Alonso on his weekend trip to Reading was tight end Zach Ertz, a close friend and former college foe. The Oregon Ducks and Stanford Cardinal alums enjoyed a fierce rivalry during their college playing days and now spend their NFL offseasons training together on the West Coast.
"We're very close. Kiko's a great guy, a great teammate, and a lot of fun to be around," Ertz said. "I like hanging out with him, showing the city a little bit."
When the two aren't in Reading cheering on the older Alonso, Ertz is getting Kiko ready for Eagles football and their fans.
"I heard that Philadelphia has passionate fans and I can't wait to play in front of them," Alonso said. "They can expect a guy who's going to give it his all. I feel like I play hard and playing in this league, you have to be tough."
Ertz agreed, knowing Alonso will succeed as a piece of the team's defensive puzzle.
"I think fans are going to be excited. He's a tough, hard-nosed football player and he's very smart. He should've won defensive rookie of the year unanimously. We invested a lot into our defense and I think it's going to pay off in the long run."
But before Alonso can lace up and lay it all out at Lincoln Financial Field, he needs to feast on Philadelphia's culinary offerings.
"I want to go to the Italian Market," said Alonso, who is also on a mission for the city's top cheesesteak. "I have had Pat's before and it was good, but I heard there's better."