Zach Pascal isn't taking anything for granted. That's the way it is when you've climbed the NFL ladder the hard way – not drafted coming out of Old Dominion, getting cut once by Washington and twice by Tennessee – and that's just fine for Pascal. He appreciates the opportunity to do whatever it takes to make a positive difference. And he wants the chance to compete, so him coming to Philadelphia as an unrestricted free agent playing for a head coach, Nick Sirianni, with whom he is very close dating back to the three seasons when Sirianni was the offensive coordinator in Indianapolis, is a great fit.
"It was big, just knowing the relationship that we had in Indy and just being able to talk throughout the season last year connecting and growing all the time," Pascal said on Thursday as he was introduced to the Philadelphia media at the NovaCare Complex. "Even talking to him throughout this whole free agency process, it was cool. That played a big part in this, right here.
"I'm excited to be here. I'm excited to be in Philly. I'm excited to get to work to help this team any way I can."
The two men, Pascal said, have a similarly competitive mentality whether they are talking football, shooting hoops ("He's a good shooter," Pascal said), or just talking the talk. Sirianni's sales pitch was straightforward and simple: He wanted Pascal to know how much he values the wide receiver's work ethic, skill set, and leadership. Now the two are together again for the 2022 Eagles season and Pascal is prepared to show the fans here what he can do.
Pascal responded to Sirianni's attention to detail when the two were with the Colts and that combination helped Pascal achieve strong seasons – 41 catches, 5 touchdowns, and 14.8 yards per catch in 2019, and 44 receptions, 629 yards, and another 5 scores in 2020. It's not clear what Pascal's role will be in the Eagles' offense, but his size (6-2, 214 pounds) will help quarterback Jalen Hurts in the red zone, and Pascal's ability to play both outside and in the slot will give the offense more position variance.
"I play with a lot of energy, a lot of excitement, and bring that work ethic," Pascal said following his press conference. "Whatever you need me to do, I'm going to do it times 10. That's just my mindset. That's just the goal. That's what you've got in Zach Pascal."
Football isn't the only thing on Pascal's mind at the moment. He's about to be a father for the first time in a matter of a couple of days – it's a girl, he said – and he left Philadelphia on Thursday to be present for the birth. Pascal brought his mother, Deslyn, to Philadelphia to share in his moment, so the entire experience for Pascal is something he will always remember.
"My mom has been a backbone since I don't know when," said Pascal, who was born in New York and grew up in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. "She's from the Caribbean Islands and she's always taken care of me and hasn't gone to too many different places. So, this is a new situation for me and I told her, 'You're coming with me. You're going to experience all of this with me as well.'"
He looked right at home on Thursday – signed, sealed, and delivered to the Eagles and reunited with a coach who brought out the best in Pascal for three seasons with the Colts.
"It feels good, man," he said. "I'm looking forward to being at my very best."