Philadelphia Eagles News

Where are they now? RB Jay Ajayi

Jay Ajayi 1920 010722
Philadelphia Eagles running back Jay Ajayi #36 reacts after scoring a touchdown during the NFL game between The Oakland Raiders and The Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on Sunday, December 25th 2017. The Eagles won 19-10. (Brian Garfinkel/Philadelphia Eagles)

Four years after acquiring him in a trade with Miami midway through the 2017 season, the Eagles will welcome Jay Ajayi back to Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday, where he'll be the Eagles Legends Community Honorary Captain of the Game for the regular-season finale against Dallas.

"The Linc is a special place," Ajayi says. "The fans, they're amazing. They either love you or they hate you, but they're going to give you what it is. And that's what I liked, keeping it real with me 100 percent of the time. I loved it there.

"And I know it's going to be a crazy game. You've got the 'Boys coming up and I know we've already made (the playoffs) but we've got work to do. We're not done. So I'm going to be there cheering my guys on, getting the stadium hyped up."

Just as he did in his first game as an Eagle. Hosting Denver on November 5, 2017, the third-year running back took a handoff from Carson Wentz with less than two minutes left in the first half and raced 46 yards down the sideline for a touchdown. Ajayi finished with a game-high 77 yards, helping Philadelphia win its seventh straight game.

"If you understand the season I was having that year, it was kind of frustrating. I was doing well, but I felt like I was just kind of struggling," Ajayi says. "I didn't feel like I was able to do what I could do. And obviously, the trade happened. I was in Philly. I didn't know how it would go. But I'm confident in myself, so once I go on that field, I was ready to roll. And then the touchdown happened, and it was kind of like a crazy moment because the stadium went crazy, and my new teammates, they were all hyped up.

"The (51-23) score was a blowout. It was one of the most fun games I had in the season, from being on my other team to the Eagles. It was a bunch of things together that just made that day really special. Obviously, you want to always showcase what you could do. So getting that touchdown the first game let the city and the team know like I'm a baller and I'm here to play."

Playing in seven games that season, Ajayi finished second on the team in rushing with 408 yards. A Pro Bowler as a Dolphin in 2016, the London, England native looked at joining the Eagles as the next chapter in his life. On new team, in a new city, he figured things out on the fly and would spend parts of the next two seasons with Philadelphia.

"For me, it was about winning my teammates over by who I am as a person, who I am as a player," Ajayi says. "I know who I am, and I know that people gravitate towards me. And so once I got to the Eagles, it was just about letting my play and personality shine. Being the competitor that I am, the team saw it, the media saw it, and I feel like my play was a good spark for the offense.

"Being able to come in and work with those other great running backs, (Coach) Duce Staley, LeGarrette Blount, Corey (Clement), all those guys in that room, we were all competing, and we were all pushing each other to be great."

And the Eagles certainly did have a great season. After going 13-3, they won the NFC Championship and met New England is Super Bowl LII, beating the Patriots, 41-33.

"I knew that coming to this team, my job was to help win the Super Bowl. That's what (Eagles General Manager) Howie (Roseman) told me when they called me," Ajayi says. "That's what they brought me in for, to help do whatever I can to help get this team a Super Bowl win.

"With the playoffs, you have to raise the level of play. I think we all did that, we all banded around each other. Especially in our RB room.

"Getting the win against (Patriots quarterback) Tom Brady, it was like us against the world. Just special moments. Moments I won't forget. I'm a champion. We brought the first Super Bowl to Philly, and I'm a part of that. That's a very important time in my life. I'm grateful for everything, for what Philly did for me."

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