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Where Are They Now? DB John Booty


Following three seasons with the New York Jets, defensive back John Booty became a Plan B free agent in 1991, and decided to follow his former coaches to Philadelphia.

"I wrote down the teams that I was choosing from and said it's a great opportunity for me to go to Philadelphia and be with the Eagles because I knew the coaching staff and I admired the team," Booty said. "(Head coach) Richie Kotite, (defensive coordinator) Bud Carson and a few other coaches were with the Eagles.

"They brought me in and (Kotite) said, 'We have a grand opportunity. This team is very talented. Defensively, these guys are relaxed and know how to play football. And we've got power on offense.'"

The Eagles had an experienced secondary, as well. It featured a mix of young players like Eric Allen along with veterans such as Andre Waters and Wes Hopkins.

"I enjoyed listening to and watching those guys," Booty said. "They were very studious, they knew how to put themselves in position and what I really admired about their play was that they knew how to have fun. They knew how to play extremely hard and they knew how to put themselves in position by studying film and being on top of their game, knowing the game plan.

"So they fired me up coming off the bench as the nickel back and I said, 'I want to make something happen!' And they weren't afraid to share the knowledge to help put us in position to become the No. 1-rated defense in the league that year. That was a big plus, how these guys put themselves in position to make big plays or make big hits and help the team win."

Winning in the NFL was not something that Booty had experienced very often. During the final two years that he played in New York, the Jets compiled a 10-22 record. However, in the two seasons he was in Philadelphia, the Eagles were 10-6 in 1991 and earned a Wild Card playoff berth in 1992 after posting an 11-5 record.

"We had a sense that we were right there," Booty said. "It seemed defensively we were there. Offensively, we had Randall Cunningham (at quarterback) and some power, but for some reason we just couldn't get over that hump. (In 1992), we beat the Dallas Cowboys (in the first regular season meeting) and they came back and beat us (in the second meeting).

"We couldn't make those plays that we needed to in the playoffs. We came from behind to beat New Orleans (in the Wild Card game for the team's first postseason victory in 11 years), but the following week we played the Cowboys and we just couldn't pull it off. There were just inconsistencies there."

Leaving the Eagles following the 1992 campaign, Booty played three more seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. During his eight years in the league, Booty collected 14 interceptions and averaged 14.2 yards per return.

Now making his home in Maryland, Booty has worked as the director of corporate memberships at the Sport Fit Health Club in Bowie for the past year.

"It's a great staff. The owner's great," Booty said. "The general manager, Scott Wade, is a former (pro) baseball player (who was drafted by the) Boston Red Sox, and he and I hit it off real good. And it's a big club, about 100,000 square feet, and there are all kinds of activities, tennis, swimming and there are a lot of kids programs. That's what I like about it, it offers everything and I get to represent all that they have to offer.

"And also, there are times when I'm a guest football analyst on NewsChannel 8 Sports Talk in Washington. I've been doing that since 2009. During the offseason, I go down there periodically. And during the season, (I'm on) every other week, which is good because it gives me the opportunity to get in the media in the D.C. area. We talk about the Washington Redskins and the NFL. It's fun, but it also is a representation of players' lives after the game, but still being a part of the game."

Booty is also a part of the Gridiron Legacy, a business development firm founded by NFL players. It's directed by former Redskins wide receiver Gary Clark.

"We do football clinics and camps with kids and train some kids who want to become pro athletes. Even though they're young, we encourage them," Booty said. "With the business development end of it, Gary deals with organizations and businesses on how we can help them strategize to be better equipped to market themselves. And also the celebrity appeal is that we can have former NFL legends and Super Bowl champs come to their events to enhance their product.

"I'm also a part of the Congressional Flag Football Game for charities that we have every two years. A lot of greats team up with members of Congress to play the Capitol Hill Police. We have people like Herschel Walker show up, my teammate with the Eagles, and (former Eagles offensive tackle and New Jersey Congressman) Jon Runyan did come out and play. We try to lend our support and our brand to encourage and help others to do their job and also give back to the community."

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