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What did Isaiah Rodgers miss the most?

Isaiah Rodgers
Isaiah Rodgers

You can see it from him when he's on the field, when he's making plays in the Eagles' defensive backfield, like the one on Thursday when he stepped in front of a pass with the offense backed up deep in its territory and plucked it out of the air and raced into the end zone for a touchdown and celebrated with his defensive teammates.

Joy. Pure joy.

That's what cornerback Isaiah Rodgers feels when he puts on his unform, laces up his cleats, straps on his helmet, and feels the adrenaline surging.

"Feels so good. I envisioned this going on for a long time," said Rodgers, who missed all of the 2023 season after violating the league's gambling policy. He was immediately waived by Indianapolis and, a couple of months later, signed by the Eagles and spent the entire year on the NFL's Reserve/Suspended List. "I had the game taken away from me – by my own doing – for the first time since I was 4 years old and it was eye opening for me.

"To be back and to know my kids get to see me play, my family gets to see me play, in a great organization and everything is a blessing for me right now."

Rodgers was taken off the Reserve/Suspended List in April and went right to work. He's been a regular in the team's offseason program and has pushed aside the rust.

Work, work, work. Focus, focus, focus. It is all about business now, about reclaiming a place in the NFL. A sixth-round pick by the Colts in the 2020 NFL Draft, Rodgers played in 45 games with 10 starts at cornerback while also contributing on kickoffs – he averaged 27 yards per return, with one touchdown.

There is a lot of game to Isaiah Rodgers, who feels he is back and ready physically.

"I feel good. I feel fast. I feel light on my feet and I feel I'm making a lot more plays than I expected I would," he said. "I think the main thing for me is to show everyone, including myself, that the year didn't make too much of a difference."

Rodgers did what he could while he was suspended to stay on course with a typical NFL day. He was on the Eagles, but not permitted to take part in any activities with the team. Rodgers trained on his own and stayed disciplined with his work habits and diet and when he was given the green light to play, he came out ready to ball.

The year off was a difficult one. He missed the locker room, the gameday rush, the cadence of the NFL list. Most of all, though? He missed you.

"It was the fans, honestly," he said. "The locker room environment, for sure, but the interaction with the fans is something that I love so much. The fans want you to succeed and to know that you can make millions of people around the world happy by making some plays, man, that's one thing I am ready to get going again. I'm taking it day by day and I am so thankful to be out here doing something that I love to do."

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