When the Eagles look across the sideline at the Edward Jones Dome on Sunday afternoon, there will be plenty of familiar faces. From head coach Steve Spagnuolo to wide receivers Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson, there are several members of the Rams' up-and-coming team who plied their trade in Philadelphia first. But no Ram is more familiar to the Eagles and Eagles fans than safety Quintin Mikell, a Pro Bowl safety who signed with the Rams as a free agent this offseason after spending the first eight seasons of his career with the Eagles.
"It was great," said Mikell of his time in Philadelphia earlier this week on a conference call with Philadelphia reporters. "I basically grew up in Philly. I came from the bottom to the top. Everything that I am today, even being a starter here (in St. Louis), has come from my development in Philly. I'll never have a negative thing to say about my time in Philly."
Mikell originally joined the Eagles as an undrafted rookie out of Boise State in 2003, earning his stripes as a special teams ace before working his way up to starting strong safety. Mikell's impact on the Eagles is still felt on a couple players on the current roster, as Mikell helped mentor second-year safeties Kurt Coleman and Nate Allen in 2010.
"It'll be good to see him and talk to him before the game, trash talk to him or something like that, something fun," said Allen.
"It's not going to be weird, it's going to be a lot of fun," said Coleman. "Some words will be exchanged but it's all friendly battle and at the end of the day we'll all shake hands and give a hug. I think when we're out there, it's the other side of the ball and I'm going to go after them."
Coleman is actually the one replacing Mikell. Like Mikell, Coleman was a bit of an afterthought as a rookie before forcing his way onto the team. But Mikell said Coleman has paved his own way.
"Kurt's his own guy, he's created his own way," said Mikell. "I guess the similarities would be we both were kind of at the bottom. He was a seventh-round pick and he's already moved into the starting spot. He's basically done everything a lot faster (than I did). He's definitely earned his position, but to say that we're the same type of player is incorrect."
"I talked to (Coleman) earlier on in the offseason, I told him ... Never go out there and just assume you don't have a position. Just go out there and take it ... I'm happy for him and happy that he saw an opportunity and took advantage of it. He's a good player."