This Sunday, Nolan Carroll will be preparing for a matchup that holds a lot of meaning for him. Growing up with two parents in the military, the Salute to Service Game gives him an opportunity to reflect on his upbringing and honor those who have dedicated their lives to serving our country.
However, the cornerback will also be going up against his former team, the one that drafted him and gave him his first chance in the NFL. It's the first time he'll go head to head with the Dolphins, but that doesn't mean he's looking at it any differently. To Carroll, this is simply another game.
"It's just a regular game," Carroll said. "I treat every game the same. I'm not going to put any added, extra incentive on it. I'm just going to play hard."
This season, Carroll has started all eight games for the Eagles and leads the team with 11 passes defensed. He's also notched two interceptions, one of which was a pick-six off quarterback Eli Manning.
Continuing that level of play is his main focus this weekend, but the Salute to Service theme is something he is proud to be part of and it will certainly weigh on his mind as he takes the field with his teammates.
"I just pay respect to everybody that's in the service and puts their lives on the line for us," Carroll said. "They don't have to do it. That's what they chose to do. They put their country first, before themselves, and that's one of the things I admire about anybody that's in the service. They could be doing anything else, but they really put us first, our country first, and do whatever they can to protect our country."
Carroll's father, Nolan, was a member of the Air Force for 27 years, while his mother, Jennifer, served in the Navy for 20 years. Growing up, one of the biggest traits they instilled in him was discipline.
To Carroll, those lessons he learned from his parents off the field directly related to the mental aspect of football. He believes they have made him a stronger player and a stronger person.
"It was really just my discipline. I think that really played a big part in me growing up, just following the rules, knowing what to do when I'm supposed to do it, be where I'm supposed to be at the right time," Carroll said. "Just all those things, I apply to my daily life. Playing football, it's the same thing as well, taking those values that they taught me and using that."
Although the NFL's Salute to Service initiative and Veterans Day give people in American a special opportunity to recognize all those in the military have given this country, Carroll knows these individuals deserve credit for what they do every day.
He does his best to ensure his parents and all military members know how much he truly appreciates their service.
"When I was smaller, we would go to memorials (on Veterans Day). At that time, I didn't really know what it was," Carroll said. "As I got older, I started understanding more, but I talk to my parents every day. It's not like one day is more special than the other.
"I mean, it's one of those things where you honor them and call them, but you don't really talk about it. Like for me, I don't really talk about it. It's a year-round thing for me. It's all the time because I know what they've done and know what they've given up for this country and what they continue to do. I respect them for that."