Veteran cornerback Geoff Pope is used to new scenarios and challenges.
Pope hails from the city of Detroit and attended nearby Eastern Michigan. He played for the Eagles from 2003-04 and appeared in 25 games throughout that time. Besides playing for the football team during his time at EMU, Pope was a member of the track team. At Detroit Jesuit High School, he was a conference champion in multiple events. Pope used track to help develop his football skills,
"I only ran track during my last two years of high school, so it was kind of one of those things that I was good at and I did it during my first two years at Eastern," Pope said. "But I did it to just stay in shape because I really didn't want to do that in college."
After the 2004 football season, Pope suffered a torn quad and realized that after his injury he would not have received enough playing time at EMU. He decided to transfer to Howard University in Washington, D.C. for his final two years. It was a new environment from the bigger EMU campus and it was a change to a smaller football school in Howard.
"I had a real bad injury and I didn't want to sit out a year and I kind of wanted a fresh start," Pope said.
That fresh start turned out well for him with 75 tackles in 22 games in his two years. He conquered the challenge of transferring schools, but despite running a 4.29 in the 40 at his pro day he went undrafted in 2007. He signed with the Miami Dolphins and was later released and picked up by the New York Giants. That wasn't a bad place to end up as he received significant time on special teams and defense in the Divisional Round and NFC championship games due to injured cornerback Sam Madison. The Giants, of course, won the Super Bowl that year and Pope earned a ring in the process.
Pope spent a year-and-a-half in Cincinnati before being signed by the Eagles last November. Already on his fourth NFL team, Pope believes he can make a difference here with the Eagles.
"It's been a little rocky, being a free agent it's hard to make it in this league," Pope said. "The thing that has kept me in this league for these four years is working hard and continuing to get better every year so that is what I'm trying to do right now."
With that mentality, he hopes that he can show his coaches that he could be a playmaker on special teams and defense with his speed this coming season.
"I want to make the team and contribute and just help this team win with anything I can do," he said.
Pope wants to succeed with the Eagles this year and hopefully find a permanent NFL home in the process.
-- Posted by Andrew Schlesinger, 3:00 p.m., May 29