D Boyz are back in town, D Boyz back in town.
It was the afternoon of Friday March 7th. Free agency looming in the immediate future, and I along with hundreds of Eagles fans worldwide were monitoring twitter feeds to catch the latest and sometimes craziest rumors to get a jump on what the Eagles front office have cooked up for the team.
And then it happened. From Jairus Byrd’s twitter account:
jairus byrd @jairusbyrd ·6 mins @PatrickChung23 yo, u change your #?
@jairusbyrd ·6 mins at 4 PM Friday March 7
And minutes later, a reply came across:
Patrick Chung @PatrickChung23 ·6 mins
@jairusbyrd yea like a day ago. Just shot you a text
And so, there it was. Something about nothing, nothing about something. But in the game of reading between the lines and guessing the goings on, here was something. Not an “undisclosed source”. Not something that someone heard through a grapevine. This was something. Something is all I need to go on. But sometimes something leads to something worthwhile.
Philadelphia Eagles safety Patrick Chung, free agent safeties Jairus Byrd and TJ Ward, and Seattle Seahawk cornerback Walter Thurmond all have ties to the DBoyz. The D Boyz is the name given to the University of Oregon defensive backfield, and three of the four charter members either are or have a chance ending with the Philadelphia Eagles: TJ Ward, Jairus Byrd, Patrick Chung, and current Seattle Seahawk Walter Thurmond. So how did the Oregon Ducks play with 3 safeties? Well, Jairus Byrd played cornerback for the Oregon Ducks along with Thurmond, and Chung and Ward played in a free safety role.
So yes, applying this link of former Oregon players in this free agency is quite the stretch. But it’s a link that does exist. The goal of the Oregon Ducks defensive backs upon entering the NFL was a pact to show the US that Oregon defensive players deserve to be considered in an NFL draft. And the results of Byrd, Ward, Thurmond, and Chung have done just that.
Players go to teams for the money, the coaching staff, the opportunity for post season success, but the discussion stops short of considering whether a player would consider a team to reunite with college teammates. Due to the business aspect of the NFL, such a reunion could likely be short lived. Still, when four young men emerged from the University of Oregon with one purpose in mind, I can see how the opportunity to play and excel on the same team might have some intrigue. As singular players, they are only as good as their individual play. But reunited on an NFL team, suddenly the stories become as much about the University of Oregon and the football program there as it does about the players themselves.
When Chung, Thurmond, Byrd and Ward committed to that pact, they may have started something that will culminate at the conclusion of this free agency. Imagine the backfield of Willimson, Fletcher, Boykin, Chung, Wolff, Byrd, Ward. After imagining that, try not to imagine it.
As unlikely as it sounds, it’s pretty addictive, isn’t it?
Still, it was just a couple of tweets between two college buddies on free agency weekend. Philly is shopping for safeties.
Let’s try to leave it at that. D Boyz are back in town, and Boyz 2 Men are laying down that east coast sound.