Retro Notes

Posted: June 21st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 23 Comments »

There isn’t a great deal of new news with the Eagles this week so I tried to come up with an interesting idea for my column.  It hasn’t posted yet, but I think I found a new angle on looking back at the last 20 years.

While doing some research, I stumbled across some nuggets that interested me.  Hopefully you’ll like them as well.

Jim McMahon – I didn’t realize Jimmy Mac was an Eagle in 1990.  I remember him playing a lot in 1991 and then making a start in 1992, but did not know that he was the backup in ’90.  It is interesting that he was the QB of the 1985 Bears Super Bowl team and then gone from Chicago pretty quickly.

Jim had a very odd career.  He only started 61 games for the Bears.  That was spread over 7 years.  I guess the injuries were just too much for them and they made the switch to Jim Harbaugh.  Jim actually didn’t come to Philly from the Bears.  He was the QB for the Chargers in 1989.

Paul Grasmanis – I loved Paul as a backup DT in the early Reid years.  He was disruptive and productive.  What caught me off guard is that he played here for 6 years.  In the first 3, Paul played in 46 games and had 9.5 sacks, a good total for a backup DT.  In the next 3 years, injuries were an issue and Paul played in just 8 games.  Still, just being on the roster for 6 years is pretty impressive for a guy who was a grinder/oveachiever type.

Fullbacks – Playing FB for the Eagles is probably not such a good idea.  Leonard Weaver and Jon Ritchie had good careers ended by knee injuries.  I don’t mean they weren’t as good.  Neither guy never played another regular season snap again.  That’s pretty amazing in today’s setting.

Thomas Tapeh suffered a nasty injury in 2004 and missed all of 2005.  He then was the starting FB in 2006-07.  Tapeh was actually playing RB in 2004 when he got hurt.  The Eagles drafted him as a big RB/FB tweener.  Jon Ritchie was the starting FB at the time and Josh Parry was the guy who replaced Ritchie when he got hurt.

Kevin Turner was the FB from 1995-1999.  He didn’t suffer one injury, but rather the pounding of the position took its toll and forced him to retire.  Kevin is now battling ALS.  He’s active on Twitter and loves to hear from Eagles fans.  Give him a follow and then talk to him.  He loves the support he gets from Eagles and Bama fans.  Dealing with ALS is brutally hard.  All the emotional support he can get will be a big help.

Lito Sheppard – No one would argue that Lito was a great talent.  He made some memorable plays and was part of some good teams.  It was odd to look back at his career and see just how little he actually did.  He was drafted in 2002.  Didn’t start, but we had Bobby and Troy.  Due to injuries, Lito did play some in 2003.  He started 9 games and broke up 18 passes.  He was great in 2004 and earned a trip to the Pro Bowl.  He picked off 5 passes and ran 2 back for TDs.  The future looked great.

Lito got caught up in the Super Bowl hangover (with several others) and stunk up the joint in 2005.  He didn’t make many plays.  He did get burned.  Luckily he rebounded with a good showing in 2006.  Lito had 6 INTs, including the epic 102-yard return vs Dallas to seal that game (TO’s return to Philly).  Awesome moment.  Lito only started 11 games in 2007 and wasn’t up to the past level.  He then went nutso over his contract and was a backup in 2008.

Lito was a star in 2004 and 2006.  He was okay in 2003 and 2007, but only started 20 games combined in those seasons.  He was an incredibly erratic player.

By comparison, Sheldon Brown was a rock.  He didn’t have the highlight plays, but he was a player you could count on.  That’s why he’s still grinding along and Lito is fighting to stay in the league.  Lito has only 21 starts in the last 4 years.  What an incredible waste of talent.

Rod Smart – He was an Eagle for part of 2001.  Do new/young fans know who the heck “He Hate Me” is?

 Go West Young Man – William Thomas left here for Oakland in 2000.  Kurt Gouveia and Takeo Spikes played here a single year and then left for the Chargers.  Bill Romanowski played here 2 years and then left for Denver.  Shawn Barber was a star here in 2002 and then headed for Kansas City.  Joe Mays was here and went to Denver.  Quinton Caver was cut by us and landed with the Chiefs.  What the heck is it about Eagles LBs going to the AFC West?

Rashard Cook – He was a SS early on in the Reid era.  He might be my favorite Eagle that didn’t pan out.  I don’t know why he didn’t make it (brains?  speed?), but he did have some really impressive moments.  He could hit and tackle with some serious power.  I’d love to know what held him back.

One Man’s Trash… – The Chiefs added Caver and Jason Dunn, a pair of Eagles 2nd rounders who never panned out despite having great athletic ability.  Dunn caught 40 passes in 3 years as an Eagle.  He then caught 41 passes in 8 years as a Chief.  He was able to re-invent himself and become an outstanding blocker.

Caver only played 29 games for KC, but did so by becoming a good STs player.  I give the Chiefs credit for getting both guys to buy in to their new roles and give both players credit for doing so.  You can make a lot of money in the NFL if you are willing to just do the dirty work.  It isn’t glamorous, but the pay beats anything you’ll do in the non-football world.

* * * * *

My friend Josh runs a charity called Hell Walk.  You may recall me talking about this last year.

Last spring he walked for 24 hours straight and raised $25,000 to help some orphans.  This year he’s gotten even bolder.  He plans to walk 100 straight miles.  He estimates this will take 30 to 35 hours.  It would take me 35 days.

Josh is a bit nuts.  He’s the person who introduced me to beer so you can hold him responsible for many of my worst moments here on Earth.  Of course, beer has also been part of some good moments, but I don’t like to give him credit for them.  Josh and I have had many adventures over the years.  He’s like a brother to me.  We don’t have the same DNA, but our love of Airplane II:  The Sequel gives us a much stronger bond than any thing else that exists in the world.  The William Shatner scene should have won him an Oscar.

Josh’s goal is to raise $50,000 this year.  He will then give out 5 scholarships of $10,000 each to military children who lost a parent in Iraq or Afghanistan.  Josh’s dad was in the Air Force and we grew up outside of Fort Bragg so we have a special appreciation for the military and their families.

Josh is having an auction this weekend at a bar in Santa Monica called Sonny McLean’s.  It is mostly a place for Boston fans, but there are cold beers and pretty girls there so it is acceptable.  There are some great prizes, especially for Sci-Fi fans.  He works for a movie company in LA and has gotten some really cool items, many of them autographed.

You can buy a raffle ticket to win some items.  You could go to the auction in person if you live out there.

If you can help Josh out with a donation, that’s cool.  He’d love it if you would at least go check out the site and spread the word so that he can support the kids with scholarships and help them overcome a tough situation.


23 Comments on “Retro Notes”

  1. 1 laeagle said at 1:15 PM on June 21st, 2012:

    Will try to check out the auction, but very disappointed that he’s not having it at the Shack, the Philly bar in Santa Monica.

  2. 2 D3FB said at 1:18 PM on June 21st, 2012:

    Chiefs also snatched up Andy Studebaker where he’s been able to have a pretty nice career thus far for a 6th rounder from a D3 school.

  3. 3 D3Keith said at 6:27 PM on June 23rd, 2012:

    I went to see Wheaton play his senior year but he was out with an injury. Pete Ittersagen, a CB from the same class, made the NFL as well, with the Jags and Titans I think.

  4. 4 Eric Weaver said at 1:38 PM on June 21st, 2012:


    I was thinking recently with the departure of Banner and Dawkin’s comments concerning Banner, it would be an interesting exercise to look back at past players that either left via free agency or were traded and wonder if Howie had been GM or head negotiator, would a different outcome occur?

    What’s your thoughts on some players like Lito, Sheldon, etc.?

  5. 5 Eric Weaver said at 1:39 PM on June 21st, 2012:

    Go West Young Man – William Thomas left here for Oakland in 2000. Kurt Gouveia and Takeo Spikes played here a single year and then left for the Chargers. Bill Romanowski played here 2 years and then left for Denver. Shawn Barber was a star here in 2002 and then headed for Kansas City. Joe Mays was here and went to Denver. Quinton Caver was cut by us and landed with the Chiefs. What the heck is it about Eagles LBs going to the AFC West?

    Andy Studebaker too.

  6. 6 Eric Weaver said at 1:43 PM on June 21st, 2012:

    I didn’t really remember Rod Smart so I looked him up. Some interesting tidbits of info here.

    Smart’s younger brother is Chris Rainey, former Lakeland High School standout running back and current Pittsburgh Steelers player. Smart’s first cousin is former Philadelphia Eagles receiver Freddie Mitchell.[2]

  7. 7 iskar36 said at 2:43 PM on June 21st, 2012:

    “He Hate Me” and no fair catches on punts were pretty much the selling points on the XFL. Kind of makes it obvious why that league failed…

  8. 8 Septhinox said at 3:36 PM on June 21st, 2012:

    Actually it failed because of a horrible business plan.

  9. 9 Septhinox said at 3:35 PM on June 21st, 2012:

    What’s Kevin Turner’s Twitter handle?

  10. 10 ACViking said at 4:07 PM on June 21st, 2012:

    RE: Rashard Cook

    T-Law —

    Cook — a great special teams guy and someone JJ loved as a nickle/dime back in some of his more exotic defenses — blew out his knee.

    Cook had microfracture surgery in 2003 and never recovered enough to play again.

    A real loss to a really deep defensive backfield.

    Check the notes in this Les Bowen column from 2010:

  11. 11 itachi007 said at 4:28 PM on June 21st, 2012:

    Where’s the love for Shedlon Brown.
    How can you forget SHELDON BROWN’s hit on Reggie Bush!?

  12. 12 babapsu said at 6:17 PM on June 21st, 2012:

    i was drunk in mendocino, ca for that hit. hard to forget.

  13. 13 P_P_K said at 8:11 PM on June 21st, 2012:

    Will never forget. Wasn’t a pic of the hit on the cover of Sports Illustrated?

  14. 14 juggadore said at 12:10 PM on June 22nd, 2012:

    first play from scrimmage too!

  15. 15 Alex Karklins said at 5:38 PM on June 21st, 2012:

    I designed a fake Criterion Collection DVD cover based on Rod Smart and posted it on a movie site a few years ago. It was for a challenge to see what we could do with the movie title: “I Hate Me Too.” Directed by Steve James, the director of Hoop Dreams. Seemed appropriate.

  16. 16 P_P_K said at 8:12 PM on June 21st, 2012:

    Being fb for the Eagles is like being the drummer for Spinal Tap.

  17. 17 Mac said at 10:05 AM on June 22nd, 2012:

    That really puts things in perspective.

  18. 18 juggadore said at 12:20 AM on June 22nd, 2012:

    i’m still bitter about dan klecko. i thought he could have been derek landri – lite.

  19. 19 juggadore said at 12:22 AM on June 22nd, 2012:

    how bout jed weaver? too bad he didnt pan out so much…

  20. 20 Matt Hoover said at 6:00 AM on June 22nd, 2012:

    How about the story of Chad Lewis jumping to and from the Eagles.

  21. 21 Anders Jensen said at 9:23 AM on June 22nd, 2012: might have the best video for Tommy ever. Landris top 5 plays in 2011

  22. 22 Tim Harris said at 8:04 PM on June 22nd, 2012:

    Kevin Turner tore his knee in ’95 against Phoenix (yeah they were still Phoenix back then, I think). That forced John Gruden into using a back field of Waters and Garner. They also had Fred McCray as a replacement.

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