In the fall of 1996, Chris Polk scored the first time he touched the football in an organized game for the San Bernardino (Calf.) Blackhawks. Seventeen years later, Polk reached the end zone on his first NFL carry - a 4-yard run up the middle last Sunday against the Denver Broncos.
"It's a great feeling, but I'm all about the team," Polk said. "I'm not really into individual things. I just want to win."
- Related Link: The All-22 highlights Chris Polk's pass protection.
The disappointment over the Eagles' loss made Polk feel like that he didn't even score. But the touchdown was important as it showed how far Polk has come in the last year.
After finishing as the University of Washington's second-leading rusher all time, Polk was not selected in the 2012 NFL Draft. One of the most highly sought-after rookie free agents, running backs coach Duce Staley helped convince Polk to sign with the Eagles. Polk used his physical running style and knowledge of the West Coast offense from playing at Washington to earn a spot on the 53-man roster. However, the biggest play of Polk's rookie season came not on offense, but on special teams when he forced a fumble on a kickoff return against the Saints. Polk only played in seven games due to a toe injury.
"I missed the whole season with an injury," Polk said. "Just watching my team now, being able to play, I'm very blessed."
To prepare for new head coach Chip Kelly's up-tempo offense, Polk lost 15 pounds and tipped the scales at 215 pounds when the spring camps began. What Polk lost in weight, he gained in quickness. He also did not temper his physical, no-nonsense style of running.
"I thought he ran really hard," said Kelly. "I thought he made a really nice decision on a pass route where we threw to him on the sideline and ended up being a 9-yard gain for us. That's the good thing about it is I think we have some competition amongst some of those positions where we can say, 'Hey, we have got some guys here, we have got some versatility here and we can use those guys.'"
Polk added a 28-yard run as he finished with 33 total rushing yards on three carries. He also had two receptions for 19 yards. He did all of this in just six offensive snaps.
"It's only the beginning," Polk said. "You have to keep going in there, just grinding every week. Move on to the next opponent. You can't win your next game on last week's touchdown. Just keep moving, keep grinding and get back to basics."
Kelly agreed that it's only the beginning.
"I think Chris warranted some playing time from (Sunday)," Kelly said. "I was really happy with him."
Make sure to follow us on Twitter @EaglesInsider