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Memories Of Great Draft 'Second Choice'

You have your board and you have your draft target and then along comes a team to mess up all the plans. It happens all the time. It happened to the Eagles in 1982.

Mike Quick has been laughing about it for the last 32 years. Has been doing so since that April day when the Buffalo Bills leaped ahead of the Eagles to the 19th spot in the first round of the draft and changed the fortunes of a lot of people and, truth be told, sent the Eagles' draft room into a major tizzy.

The target for the Eagles that year was Clemson wide receiver Perry Tuttle. Head coach Dick Vermeil loved Tuttle. Quick was an afterthought.

"I just know that Dick Vermeil's good friend (Chuck Knox) was the head coach of the Bills at the time, and they made the move right before the Eagles knowing that Dick wanted to draft Perry Tuttle," said Quick. "They made the move and drafted Tuttle. As a consolation, they picked me and it has been a beautiful thing."

Buffalo drafted Tuttle at No. 19 in the first round and the Eagles, more than a bit disconsolate at the turn of events, chose North Carolina State wide receiver Mike Quick.

Some consolation prize. Tuttle played two seasons with Buffalo, four total in the NFL, and caught 25 career passes. Quick played nine seasons with the Eagles, caught 363 passes, scored 61 touchdowns, made five Pro Bowls and likely would have been a Hall of Famer had leg injuries not derailed his career.

Funny how things work out, isn't it?

"It wasn't like they flew us all into New York," said Quick. "I'm sitting in Raleigh, North Carolina in a little apartment huddled around the television waiting for the pick, waiting to see where I was going to go. I knew that Philadelphia was one of the possibilities, but I also knew that Cleveland and New Orleans had expressed a lot of interest in me.

"It's hard to find a better day than that day. You work a long time to try to get to that point and it's a boy's dream to play as a professional. It's hard to match it to anything else that I've ever dealt with. It's the best."

Quick is part of this weekend's NFL draft festivities at Radio City Music Hall. As part of the NFL's Legends Program, Quick will represent the Eagles and announce the team's second-round draft pick on national television. He's going to enjoy the moment thoroughly.

"It's really something I'm looking forward to," said Quick, a member of the team's Hall of Fame and, of course, the sidekick to Merrill Reese on the Eagles Radio Network game broadcasts. "The NFL draft is nothing like it used to be."

Back then the NFL draft was a two-day event and, while it was popular, it was not a prime-time drama. It was held on a weekend in the spring and the hoopla was nothing compared to what it is today.

The moment, though, is what's special. Hearing your name called starts a new chapter in a young man's life. Quick has a huge task while announcing the name that has potential to impact the Eagles and a young man's football career for years to come: Pronouncing a name clearly for the whole world to hear.

What happens if Quick is handed a name that leaves him tongue tied?

"Then I'll have to call Merrill," said Quick, laughing. "He'll be there to help me out in a pinch like he always does."

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