It's all very real for running back Trey Sermon right now. The reality that the NFL is a business, that absolutely nothing is a given, visited him last week when he was released by the 49ers as teams juggled their rosters to reach the 53-man limit. The Eagles were awarded Sermon off waivers and thus began his new journey – starting with a long, cross-country flight that gave Sermon plenty of time to think about his next step.
The emotional jolt was significant for Sermon, a third-round pick by San Francisco a year earlier.
"It was a lot, because I definitely didn't see it coming, so when it happened it was a lot to take in," Sermon said sitting in his locker at the NovaCare Complex on Wednesday. "At the same time, it was like, 'What's next?' I knew I had to figure out a plan and figure out what happened and learn from it. Then I got the call that I was coming to Philadelphia and I focused on what is ahead for me and this opportunity. It's a great team here, a good running back room with guys who are very talented and helpful to me.
"It made me realize that the NFL is a business and, yeah, you hear about it, but once it happens to you and you see it firsthand, it's real. At the same time, the way I approached this year, I wouldn't change it at all. I'm a totally different player than I was last year. I'm healthy and I'm confident in what I'm doing and I'm excited to learn the system and be the best player I can be and help this football team win."
Hampered by an ankle injury last season that landed him on Injured Reserve, Sermon had 41 carries for 167 yards for the 49ers in nine games. He reported to Training Camp in great shape and competed in the crowded 49ers' backfield and, well, here he is now, looking forward.
The past is to learn from, not to dwell upon.
"There is definitely a big difference between what we did in San Francisco and what we're doing here, but what helps me is that it's similar to what I did in college, at Ohio State and Oklahoma," Sermon said. "Just having that background, something to revert back to, I feel like it will help me being here. There is more zone running here, whereas in San Francisco it's more of that wide-zone scheme, so I hope to show my best here."
Sermon is here with only a handful of his belongings, having grabbed a few must-have items as he starts an NFL life anew. A talented player who rushed for nearly 3,000 yards and scored 26 touchdowns in three seasons at Oklahoma and one year at Ohio State, Sermon is here to provide depth in the Eagles' backfield.
Starting ... right ... now.
"Yeah, I'm starting over and I have to approach it that way," he said. "It was a jolt, what happened in San Francisco. I'm here to turn that into a positive for me and the Eagles."