New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton views Malcolm Jenkins as the one that got away.
Philadelphia Eagles safety and acting captain Malcolm Jenkins didn’t get his start with the Birds. However, it sure feels like he’s been a homegrown athlete for the last couple of years. Let’s face it – when it’s all said and done, Malcolm Jenkins will go down as one of the best free agent signings for the Eagles of all time. No, not for just the 2010’s era alone, but of all time.
Jenkins was drafted to the New Orleans Saints back in 2009 out of Ohio State in the first round as a cornerback. Eventually, he made his move to safety and would play for the Saints until 2013. After that year, Jenkins and the Saints decided that it was time to move on, and that’s when he ended up testing free agency and ultimately choosing to sign with the Eagles.
Ever since Jenkins joined the Eagles, he’s been the leader of the secondary. Before the Eagles even decided to throw captains patches on their players, it was well known amongst the team that No. 27 was the vocal leader of the defense. Although his outspoken demeanor is what stood out, his durability and skills make him known as one of, if not, the most underrated safety in the game right now. And to this day, Saints head coach Sean Payton views him as the one that got away.
Sean Payton regrets letting Jenkins walk
"“He was probably one of the most important parts to our Super Bowl run,” Payton said, via Matt Lombardo of NJ.com. “And that was only his rookie season. He’s one of my guys, and I mean that. Probably one of the bigger mistakes that we’ve made, and you have to ask yourself ‘how did that happen?’ Letting him out of the building certainly wasn’t a smart decision.”"
Jenkins and Payton may have mutual respect for each other, but don’t get it twisted. Jenkins will not be the friendly former player towards Payton this week as the Eagles are set to take on the Saints in New Orleans for the second time this year.
Despite the fact that the season is on the line, the Eagles are heading into Sunday’s matchup with a ton of built-up frustration towards the Saints. During their first meeting back in Week 11, Jenkins and some others on the team believe that Payton and the Saints purposely ran up the score on them as revenge for being the team to win the Super Bowl in 2017 when the Saints thought that they should’ve been there.
Whether that’s actually true or not, it doesn’t really matter. That’s what’s in most of the player’s heads. And if they need to use that as motivation then so be it. As for Payton’s comments on Jenkins, it probably won’t mean much to the safety nowadays. Being that Jenkins has made himself known as one of the most predominant players in Philadelphia, his time with the Saints is nothing but a memory. While he’s most likely appreciative of them for giving him a chance, Jenkins has made Philadelphia his home over the last few years.