How Travis Fulgham overcame odds to become a Philadelphia Eagles hero

Travis Fulgham (Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)
Travis Fulgham (Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports) /

What a night it was for Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Travis Fulgham.

Next man up! That’s been the Philadelphia Eagles‘ mantra for the past few years under head coach Doug Pederson. In Week 4, the ‘next man’ was Travis Fulgham, a second-year wide receiver out of Old Dominion. Philly was in need of a big play when Carson Wentz threw a beautiful pass that felt like it floated in the air forever, and Fulgham came down with a spectacular catch and touchdown run with just under six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Let’s rewind the tape a little bit to see just how Fulgham got to this point.

In high school, Fulgham played just two years of football because his parents were Foreign Service Officers. In the ninth grade, he moved to the United States but played other sports before trying his hand at football. That didn’t help him as he entered the NCAA’s recruiting process. He didn’t get any big offers and walked on with the Old Dominion Monarchs.

As a freshman, he made progress and earned some snaps while finishing his first season of collegiate football with six catches and 89 yards. Over the course of the next two years, he became a very important cog in the team’s offense, racking up 58 catches for 872 yards and nine touchdowns in 23 games.

That set the stage for a breakout senior season in which he compiled 63 catches for 1,083 yards and nine touchdowns. He was no longer just a walk-on. He was now one of pro football’s top prospects. In the 2019 NFL Draft, Fulgham and his teammate Oshane Ximines became the first players from Old Dominion to be drafted.

The Detroit Lions took Travis in the sixth round, and he made the 53-man roster. Unfortunately, they already had plenty of experience at the receiver position with Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr., and Danny Amendola. Fulgham went on the practice squad at the end of September before earning promotion back to the active roster in December. However, he wasn’t very involved in the offense.

Welcome to Philadelphia, Travis Fulgham.

In early August, the Lions waived Fulgham and he was picked up by the Green Bay Packers for ten days. He was then waived by them, and that brought him to Philadelphia. With how loaded the Eagles were at the receiver position prior to the season, many expected Fulgham would be just another body at training camp before his impending release came.

Robert Davis had gotten snaps for the ‘Birds’ in 2019 and appeared to be one of the backup ‘X’, or primary, receivers, but Davis was waived in early September after he suffered an injury. Over the summer, Fulgham impressed with his technique. He displayed the ability to get leverage and use his body and length to beat corners down the field. Word around the Novacare complex was that he caught everything that came his way. Some thought he might get a shot if J.J. Arcega-Whiteside didn’t produce, and that was much of the reason that the Eagles kept Fulgham on the practice squad.

Fast forward to this past Sunday night and the Eagles were without almost all of their wide receivers. Fulgham played 37 of the Eagles’ 62 offensive snaps in a primetime game versus the San Francisco 49ers. He was run blocking on most plays early. Later, he ran a beautiful 15-yard out route towards the end of the first half. Then, it happened. Wentz hit him in stride for a 42-yard touchdown in which Fulgham got off press coverage and displayed his body control and balance to stay in bounds for what would be the game-winning touchdown.

He did a wonderful job of keeping Dontae Johnson at bay and maintaining consistent speed down the sideline as well. Now, he’s one of the new heroes in the city of Philadelphia. With all of this being said, Fulgham has been beating the odds his entire football career. His journey is something straight out of a movie. Then again, so are the stories of most of the Eagles’ practice squad players who step up so he fits right in.

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Alshon Jeffery is still sidelined. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside isn’t one-hundred percent and the writing may be on the wall for him. Fulgham may get a shot to show whether this was just a flash in the pan or if he can continue to overcome the odds in these next few games. Is this yet another diamond in the rough from the Eagles’ practice squad? Only time will tell.