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Kenny Pickett: 'This is a good reset' for my career

Kenny Pickett
Kenny Pickett

This is a full-circle moment for new quarterback Kenny Pickett, an Eagles fan growing up in Ocean Township, New Jersey and now an Eagle after the team acquired him in a trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers that became official on Monday. But the fan-becomes-the-player story is more than that, because in a very short time, Pickett has learned what the NFL is all about and he's taking this new beginning as a chance to grow as an NFL quarterback.

"My dad grew up in Philly for a couple years before he went over to Ocean Township, so I think that's where it started and then he passed it down to me," Pickett said on Monday as he met the media at the NovaCare Complex before ticking off his favorite Eagles from the 2000s. "I have vivid memories of them running out of the tunnel and now I'll be doing the same trot. It's pretty exciting.

"This is a good reset, I think. Having a chance to play on this team in that quarterback room with a couple of great guys (Jalen Hurts, Tanner McKee), helping those guys out any way I can, be ready to play when my number is called somewhere down the road, it's a crazy, crazy business. I'm just trying to put my best foot forward and be an asset for this team."

A first-round draft pick by Pittsburgh in 2022 (20th overall), Pickett compiled a 14-10 record as a starter with the Steelers, completing 62.6 percent of his passes with 13 touchdown passes and 13 interceptions in two seasons. A rib injury and then an ankle injury that required surgery short-circuited his season and the Steelers entered the 2024 business year looking to shake up the position.

They did just that by signing veteran Russell Wilson, dealing Pickett to the Eagles, and then acquiring Justin Fields in a trade.

A fresh start all around. And lessons learned for Pickett.

"I think you always learn more from the adversities in life than a lot of your success stories," said Pickett, a finalist for the 2021 Heisman Trophy after throwing 42 touchdown passes and 4,319 passing yards in his final season at the University of Pittsburgh. "Just putting my head down and going back to work, doing what I love. I love to play the game. I want to get back to having fun, get a chance to meet these guys. I already feel like it's a great environment here with this coaching staff and these players.

"That's what I want to get back to."

Pickett is here to back up Hurts and continue his development. That's the story and that is the reason the Eagles traded for Pickett, who is mobile and has the skill set to execute the offense put in place by Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore and the coaching staff. Pickett doesn't yet have an understanding of exactly what Moore will put in place, but he knows how much success Hurts has had here and he has studied a bit of what Moore did with Dallas and the Chargers, the two previous teams with whom he was offensive coordinator, and that adds to his level of anticipation.

Quarterbacks have thrived under Moore. Pickett expects to do the same.

"Getting under center, being in the gun (shotgun), I think I can do both of those things. I think I showed that in Pittsburgh," Pickett said. "They've got to figure out the system now – doing what they did last year here and at their previous places terminology-wise and scheme-wise. I'm excited to learn and take it in as much as I can."

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