Finally, Dallas Goedert said on Friday, he's back to playing football. It's what he loves the most and, frankly, all of the pre-draft stuff and the post-draft hype has its place behind the game. The work. The sweat. The challenge.
The Eagles' first pick in the 2018 NFL Draft and No. 49 overall, Goedert wore jersey No. 88 and, as a dozen cameras and another 15 or so reporters crowded around him on a picture-perfect day at the NovaCare Complex, he pushed back his helmet and talked about his first day on the field as a Philadelphia Eagle.
"It's awesome. A dream come true," Goedert said. "I feel like it was a really good first day for everybody out here. Everybody competed and worked hard and so we've got to keep doing that (throughout the weekend)."
The biggest challenge won't necessarily be the physical part, as the players are wearing helmets, shells instead of shoulder pads, and shorts. There is no tackling. But the tempo is high and the amount of learning required is a test for everyone.
Combine the two for a first "Welcome-to-the-NFL" moment.
"We put a lot of new stuff in, and I feel like I've got a pretty good jump on it so I feel pretty good about it," said Goedert, who spent most of his last two weeks in South Dakota working out. "It's huge for all the rookies to get situated. The vets have been in it for a few weeks so we're trying to catch up. It's a tough few days for us. I think we'll be pretty good, and then working with the tight ends, Zach Ertz is someone that I'm excited to learn from so I'll be really excited when he gets back here and I can take a little bit from him."
Goedert said his daily reminders are to "keep having fun" and relaxing when he's on the football field.
"Just be confident in what you can do and keep working hard," Goedert said.
The initial impression as he transitions from South Dakota State to the NFL? Honestly, there wasn't much of a difference, Goedert said.
"Football is football," he said. "There wasn't a ton different. Probably just the size of the people. All of these guys are pretty good athletes, so that's a little bit different."