After Trey Burton – the Honorary Captain for Sunday's game against Dallas at Lincoln Financial Field – joined the Eagles as an undrafted free agent from the University of Florida in 2014, he was the fourth tight end on the depth chart.
When he left the Eagles as an unrestricted free agent in 2018, he did so having helped make team history as a key member of Super Bowl LII's Philly Special.
Leading New England 15-12 with 34 seconds left in the first half, the Eagles had the ball fourth-and-goal at the Patriots' 1-yard line. Philadelphia called timeout and quarterback Nick Foles jogged over to Head Coach Doug Pederson and said, 'You want Philly Philly?' Pederson thought for a second and replied, 'Yeah, let's do it.'
And they did.
"(When Pederson made the call) I didn't really think much about it, honestly," Burton says. "I feel like we didn't have much time to like sit there and ponder about it. Previous weeks, the first two playoff games, I kind of had an idea when we were going to call it, and when we were going to run it. But the Super Bowl, with all the craziness going on around the game and everything, it didn't really even come to my mind that we could possibly even run that play."
"That play" began with Foles moving up from the shotgun position to the line of scrimmage next to the right tackle, Lane Johnson. Rookie running back Corey Clement took the snap, pitched the ball to Burton, and he tossed the ball to a wide-open Foles in the end zone. Touchdown!
"It just was a spur-of-the-moment-type deal," Burton says. "It was one of those things where you didn't really think about it and just let it go. I mean, obviously, it's the most famous play that I've ever been a part of. So much fun. A lot went into it. I'm just so happy that the City of Philly was able to get a Super Bowl. And that's really what was most important."
Burton's road to being in a position to throw a touchdown pass in Philadelphia's 41-33 victory over New England began four years earlier when the rookie defied the odds and earned a spot on the Eagles' roster.
"I just wanted to make a team. I didn't really care what team," Burton says. "I didn't really have a position coming into the NFL. I went to the Combine as a tight end, and then as soon as the tight end workouts were done, two or three scouts came over to me all at once and said, 'Hey, are you staying for the running back workout?'
"No one really knew what position I was going to be. (Then-coach) Chip Kelly took a flyer on me and invited me to be part of the team. And I had unbelievable veterans. I had guys like Brent Celek. I had (Zach) Ertz, James Casey. Had a really good coach in Justin Peelle. I had such good guys around me. And they were selfless. Every time I wanted to stay after for extra reps, James or Ertz or Celek were there.
"So it was honestly like a team effort in reality. It really wasn't much what I did. It was more of like, 'Hey, I'm available. Teach me and show me what it's like to be a pro.' I really attribute a lot of my success early on to those guys."
With the Eagles for four of his seven seasons in the NFL, finishing with Chicago and Indianapolis, Burton feels that beginning his career in Philadelphia was definitely a case of being in the right place at the right time.
"I'd like to think that I played for the two best programs with the fan bases, organizations, history, tradition, just how rich it is at the University of Florida and Philadelphia," Burton says. "Philly's just special, man. It's blue-collar. They love their sports, but they love their football.
"It's just a special place. There's no way to really put a couple of words together to explain it just because it's so complex. I ended up going to Philadelphia, so it was a culture shock at first. But all I can really say is it has a really special place in my heart, and I have nothing but love for the city."