Chris Maragos and Bryan Braman were signed to help the Eagles STs. They have some very unusual backgrounds.
Dave Spadaro wrote about Maragos, who is the more “normal” of the two.
“I was very fortunate to have a very competitive environment at a young age and I really had to strive and grind and really focus on details. My mentality has always been to win. I walked on to my college team (Western Michigan) and then transferred to Wisconsin and sat out a year and then walked on there. I wasn’t drafted by the NFL and I’ve bounced around, so I’ve always had to take care of the little details. I think that maybe some of the guys with more talent, as we got to college and the NFL, didn’t know how to take care of details and I did. So when it came down to a coach relying on somebody, I got the nod. As the doors kept opening, I kept taking advantage of my opportunities.”
His opportunity now is to make the coaches take notice of him as a safety, because he would someday like to be a starter there in the NFL and he won’t stop pushing for that goal. But Maragos knows that special teams are his meal ticket. He gets it.
“Playing special teams and having that mentality, yeah, you have to have the right mindset,” said Maragos, who says he measures at 5-feet-10 and 5/8 inches and 203 pounds. “But I also think it’s a talent. I don’t think it’s something you acquire. It’s like having good hands or being fast. You can tell somebody to play restrained and they can try it. But when you flip the lights on you need guys who are gritty and tough and who play hard and that’s either in him, or it’s not. You may be able to motivate them for a play or two, but over the long haul, week after week, it’s either in you or it’s not.
“I play gritty and tough football. That’s who I am.
I love the comments about motivating players. Maragos is dead on the money. You can only motivate guys so long. At some point, they have to do things on their own. With Maragos background, there is no doubt why he’s able to motivate himself. He has spent most of his career being doubted.
“When I first came in to the NFL with San Francisco, I know guys were like, ‘Who is this? Is he the new intern for the equipment room or something?’ But then I got on the field, and the lights went on, and they saw how I played. I think that’s the coolest thing. Fans will see the tackles that are made and they notice that, but there are so many things that I’ll do that aren’t splash plays,” said Maragos. “They’re not going to be things that jump off the TV screen at you. It’s going to be little things that benefit everyone on the team and make us all better.
“I want to be a starting safety in the NFL. But truly, my goal is to help my team win the best way that I can. If that’s playing special teams, that’s great. If that’s handing out water to whoever is coming to the sideline, that’s great. Whatever I can do to help us win, that’s what I’m focused on. I told Coach (Chip) Kelly when I first got here that I’m not going to be perfect, but I’m going to try to be perfect in everything I do. If you have that mentality and work hard every day and try to improve every day and build that foundation, it pays off when the times are tough and you need something good to happen.”
I love the fact Maragos can take the doubt from others and use that as a positive. Some players build up too much of a chip on their shoulders and it works against them. Sounds like Maragos is grounded enough to know how to use his struggles.
I sure hope he pans out for the Eagles. He is one likable guy.
* * * * *
Braman has done some very interesting things in his life. Check out this story by Eliot Shorr-Parks. You can read about his modeling job, his drug arrest and his dreadlocks. Personally, I’m focused on his relatives teeth.
“My whole family’s kind of toothless. My dad, he doesn’t have no tooth. My grandpa, he didn’t have any teeth by the time he was about 30. All my uncles, they don’t have any teeth. It’s weird. I want to say it’s genetic, but I guess I could’ve prevented it with a little bit of better tooth care and upkeep with the dentist and stuff. But yeah, we’re a pretty toothless family.”
I am speechless.
Oh…and his grandpa was about 7-4 and 460. He passed away in 2001 or something tells me Chip Kelly would have tried to sign him.
Joking aside, Braman went to Idaho and then dropped out. He was homeless for a while. He then went to Long Beach City College and eventually made his way to D-2 West Texas A&M.
There is nothing close to normal about Braman’s path to the NFL.
Go here to read John McClain’s article on his background. Fascinating story by a great writer.
* * * * *
I think Maragos is a near-lock for the roster due to his career performance and the depth of the position. Braman could be on shakier ground. The Eagles will keep 4 or 5 OLBs. They have Trent Cole, Connor Barwin, Marcus Smith, Brandon Graham, Travis Long and Braman battling each other. Braman needs to be effective on defense and he needs to stand out on STs.