Rookie running back Chris Polk may have dished out as much punishment as he's received during this preseason.
Polk doesn't have the cutting ability of LeSean McCoy. He's not slippery and compact like Dion Lewis. He's not as natural and explosive as fellow rookie Bryce Brown.
There isn't anything flashy about Polk's game. He takes a cut, lowers his shoulder and plows downhill making a defender pay for making the tackle. And, yet, there's a something fun about watching the way Polk plays.
"I see running the ball and being physical as a fistfight. I'm going to hit you before you hit me," Polk said. "I just owe it to my teammates to put my body on the line and just do whatever I can to give maximum effort. They're doing the same thing around me, so why shouldn't I? Plus, my physical running style energizes the whole team."
Polk isn't just a runner and he relishes in flashing his versatility. Playing in a West Coast offense at the University of Washington, Polk is well-versed in the art of pass blocking and receiving.
"They're not going to put a running back out there who can just run the ball. They want to protect the quarterback because now that is the president," Polk said. "Teams revolve all around the quarterback. With the great quarterbacks we have, I can't let you hit them on my behalf."
Despite his prestigious collegiate career that included first-team All-Pac 12 honors and the second-most rushing yards in school history, Polk went undrafted in April. Special teams quality control coach Duce Staley urged Polk to come to Philadelphia. Polk's draft slight has only fueled the intensity of his hard-charging runs.
"It reinstates in my mind that you can't take anything for granted," Polk said. "When you come out here, give it your all like it's your last play because tomorrow's not promised to anyone. It doesn't matter what you did in college or what round you got drafted in. You could get cut regardless. Just have fun and make the most of your opportunities."
Polk has made the most of his opportunity. And he's created a conundrum for the Eagles in the process. He's listed fourth on the depth chart below the aforementioned players. However, Polk's play and mental toughness could craft a spot on the 53-man roster. Polk will have one last chance to state his case on Thursday in the preseason finale against the Jets.
"It's very exciting just to still be in an Eagles uniform and still be considered a part of this team and be able to contribute," Polk said. "Right now, I'm living my dream.
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