The list of the big free agent moves made by the Eagles this offseason will likely not include the addition of defensive end Phillip Hunt.
However, the Canadian Football League's leader in sacks just a year ago proved that his ability to fly off the edge in defensive line coach Jim Washburn's scheme was simply too good as Hunt made the Eagles' 53-man active roster on Saturday.
"It's been a great day, a little bit stressful early. Now, it's all good. It's a testament to what God has done for me," Hunt said from the team hotel. "I just appreciate the whole team for giving me the opportunity to showcase my skills."
Hunt led the Eagles and was third in the NFL with 3.0 sacks in the preseason. The 6-0, 248-pound end's speed was impressive day after day in training camp. That success carried over to the preseason where Hunt got to rotate in with the first-team defense and prove himself against quality linemen.
"They let me get a lot of reps in training camp. I just made the most of the reps that I got," Hunt said. "You're realizing that you are playing with the best of the best in the world. I just learned how to play harder and have better technique on every snap of the ball. I think that's working well for me."
Prior to Thursday night's preseason finale, Hunt said that he had a conversation with general manager Howie Roseman, who told Hunt that he was looking forward to the defensive end having a good game. Hunt responded with three tackles including two for loss and a sack. Roseman said Hunt's production throughout the preseason made the decision to keep him one that was best for the team.
"This is a guy in every game that he played was making a difference rushing the passer, and obviously he was successful in the CFL, and he's a guy that we liked coming out of the University of Houston," Roseman said. "I think it's a testament to him that he came in here and had the production that he did and everyday he came to play."
Hunt had 16 sacks last year for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and now he's a Philadelphia Eagle. Certainly one of the biggest surprises to make the 53-man roster, Hunt does not want his story to end here.
"I look forward to doing big things here in Philly," Hunt said.
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