Jon Runyan: The Enforcer
Signed by the Eagles in 2000, Runyan proved to be one of the most important free agent acquisitions in franchise history. He will enter the Eagles Hall of Fame on Thursday alongside Tra Thomas.
By Chris McPherson
Jon Runyan understands why you might think his current job is a little bit ironic. Runyan is the NFL's Vice President of Policy and Rules Administration. He works closely with former Eagles teammate and fellow Hall of Famer Troy Vincent, the Executive Vice President of Football Operations for the league. Runyan oversees club and game-related initiatives related to players. He serves as Commissioner Roger Goodell's designee for on-field uniform and discipline infractions as agreed upon by the NFL and players' union.
He was certainly an enforcer on the field, dishing out punishing blocks during his tenure with the Philadelphia Eagles from 2000-08. Over those nine years, he suited up for all 144 regular-season and 17 postseason games. Yes, Runyan didn't miss a single contest in Midnight Green. No matter who lined up at every other position, the Eagles could rely on the mammoth 6-foot-7, 330-pound Runyan holding down the right tackle spot.
"Back then, you did what you had to do to get out there and perform," said Runyan, who played through a significant knee injury in the 2004 run to the Super Bowl and a fractured tailbone in the 2008 playoffs that ended with a trip to the NFC Championship Game. "You can be banged up and hurt and all that, but you know that the second that ball is snapped, the four seconds or so of that play, if you're locked in, you don't feel all of those sprained ankles, those knee ligaments. As soon as that play is over, you're walking back to the huddle and it hurts, but it's that mental approach you take to say, I can turn this off and get this done and help this team win games."
Runyan epitomized the City of Philadelphia. His toughness and resiliency are rewarded as the former Pro Bowl tackle will join his bookend mate Tra Thomas on Thursday night in the Eagles Hall of Fame. The two will be inducted together, fittingly enough, when the Eagles host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"It's something you never really think about when you're playing," Runyan said. "It's one of those things when you're an old man talking to your kids, someday talking to your grandkids about all this kind of stuff. It's a real great honor. It makes you feel good that you're still respected for what you did on the field out there."
The fact that Runyan and Thomas are going in together makes the moment that much more special for Runyan.
"Out of all those different offensive line lineups we had, we were the two that were consistent," Runyan said. "It's awesome to go in with him. There was a lot of change in between us and outside of us, but to be able to be those bookends that everybody calls us, to have that continuity there, it was awesome. Tra's a brother, man. I love the guy to death. It's awesome that we're going to be able to share the field here."