Three Philadelphia Eagles that never should have left the franchise

Reggie White #92, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Reggie White
Reggie White #92, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Reggie White /
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Occasionally, Eagles leave the nest even if we don’t want them to.

It’s hard to say goodbye to a fan-favorite that has worn the midnight (or kelly) green. More than 1,500 players have done so for the Philadelphia Eagles. This team has had 24 head coaches.

Many we won’t remember. Some we’ll never forget regardless of where their careers have taken them. Let’s take a few moments and tip the cap to three of them. Rest assured, if any of you were wondering, Jason Babin and Chip Kelly aren’t making this list.

The Minister of Defense, on the other hand, is a no-brainer.

54. . . . Reggie White . 92. player

Defensive End, 1985-1992

Reggie White landed with the Eagles as the fourth-overall selection in the 1985 supplemental draft. The USFL had just collapsed and Philadelphia bought out the remaining three years of his Memphis Showboats contract.

In his first game with Philadelphia, he tallied ten tackles and 2.5 sacks. At the close of his first NFL season, he had added 13 sacks in 13 games to his resume. For his efforts, he was named the NFC’s Defensive Rookie of the Year.

White would play in 121 regular-season games as an Eagles over eight years and make another five playoff appearances, collecting 124 sacks to become the franchise leader. When a player’s strike shortened the 1987 season to 12 games, White still found a way to come up with 21 sacks, setting the Eagles’ single-season record in the process.

Reggie White wasn’t just the best player on coach Buddy Ryan’s teams, he may have been the most popular. His ferocious play on the field was a sharp contrast to his work as an ordained minister, earning him the aforementioned nickname ‘Minister of Defense’. Reggie seemed to walk on water around the city until his contract was up in 1993.

At the dawn of free agency, former Eagles owner Norman Braman elected against paying top dollar to keep players in town, and as a result, guys just left.

A lawsuit filed by White and the NFLPA helped usher in a more lucrative era for NFL free agents. That most certainly rubbed Braman the wrong way. White signed a four-year, $17 million contract with Green Bay. How’s that for a bargain? He won a championship three years later. He should have been an Eagle for life.

The world lost a great man when he died in 2004. We will never forget him and modern-day players should appreciate what he did for the league.