The Ballad (and tragedy) of the 2020 Eagles star, Travis Fulgham

Despite the Eagles' failure in the 2020 season, there was one player that burned bright and fast. Travis Fulgham's season was just about as bizarre as they come.

Travis Fulgham, Philadelphia Eagles
Travis Fulgham, Philadelphia Eagles / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

It feels like forever ago, but the Philadelphia Eagles’ 2020 season did indeed happen. There were about 30 minutes of cohesive, non-terrible, non-painful, and non-tirade-inducing football. Unfortunately, that ended after the first 30 minutes of the entire season.

Also, unfortunately, we have to look at the shreds of good things that happen in bad times because that’s mentally healthy or whatever. It's not a fun thing to do because you’d rather just focus on the bad stuff, push it all deep down inside, and then either bring it up with a therapist in 20 years or just wait and angrily rant about it on your deathbed. 

But alas, here we are, trying to better ourselves so we can be functioning human beings. Let’s look at one of the stars of the Eagles’ 2020 season, Travis Fulgham.

How did Travis Fulgham find himself on the Eagles roster?

Our current world has two spring football leagues, the XFL and USFL. Many guys on those teams are late-round draft picks and/or career practice squad guys. That’s kind of where Fulgham's career was headed. 

A former Old Dominion (ODU) standout and sixth-round pick of the Lions in 2019, he signed a rookie contract, got waived, re-signed to their practice squad, got promoted to the active roster, played three games, got waived again, got picked up by the Packers, and was then waived nine days later. All of that happened from April 27th of 2019 to August 19th of 2020. That’s a hell of a year for a guy in his mid-20s to endure.

Then on August 25, 2020, the Philadelphia Eagles claimed Fulgham off of waivers. Cool, he’s on the team now, right? Wrong. He was waived again and re-signed to their practice squad.

The point here is that our guy absolutely went through it. This is something that's not wholly uncommon for players to go through. These lesser-known guys get passed around from team to team the same way wedding parties passed around bottles of Fireball with Go Pros attached to them in 2014. It’s pretty crazy.

How great was Fulgham’s campaign in the 2020 season?

Okay, so now Fulgham is on the team. Fast forward to Week 4, when he got his first opportunity to play. That was largely due to an absolutely DECIMATED Eagles' receiving corps. You had Alshon Jeffery, jalen reagor (he doesn’t get capital letters), Quez Watkins, JJAW, DeSean Jackson, and Dallas Goedert all out with injuries. What did the Eagles have to lose by throwing in this random guy they just signed? Turns out nothing. And, guess what? Boom. Fulgham ended up 57 yards and a touchdown. Not bad for someone no one has heard of.

Then, in Week 5, he exploded to the tune of 152 yards and a touchdown. In Week 6... 75 yards and a touchdown. Week 7... 73 yards. Week 8.. 73 yards and a touchdown. During that stretch, he tallied 44 receptions for 435 yards and four TDs. He was dominant.

He was patient with his route running. He created good separation. He went up for the ball, and he was physical after the catch. He was so popular that his jersey was in the top 20% of jerseys sold. And then he kind of just… he vanished.

The Eagles receiving corps finally gets ‘healthy’, and Fulgham takes a step back.

The Eagles had their bye in Week 9 and that's when things changed. The starters in the receiving corps started to return. Jeffery, reagor, Jackson, and Goeddert were coming off the IR. The Eagles pulled a Toy Story and told Fulgham that they didn’t want to play with him anymore. For the rest of the season, Fulgham only hauled in 23 receptions for 104 yards.

It was gut-wrenching to see a guy ascend the way that Fulgham did, just to be ignored. He went from getting targeted around nine times per game to getting targeted around three times per game. It also didn't help that he had some issues with drops. In the two weeks following the bye (Weeks 10 and 11) Fulgham was targeted 13 times and only logged two receptions for a total of 16 yards.

The season ended the pathic way that it did and Fulgham was the team’s leading receiver with 539 receiving yards and four touchdowns, but even so, his time with the Eagles came to a close. That offseason he was waived by the team, briefly re-signed onto the practice squad, and then ultimately released on October 11, 2021. Some people say that his release had to do with the drop issues that he had in the 2020 season and that those issues continued into the 2021 training camp, but we might never know for sure.

Since then, he’s become a journeyman of sorts, making stops to join the practice squads of the Miami Dolphins, the Denver Broncos, and again, the Green Bay Packers. His contract with them has since expired, and now, he’s a 27-year-old free agent, floating around in the ether.

And, that's where we are now with Travis Fulgham. It wouldn't necessarily be surprising if we saw him again in the NFL, but there's certainly a decent chance that he finds himself on the roster in one of the Spring football leagues. Wherever you are Travis, thank you for being a star, albeit a bright one that burned fast, but a star in dark times nonetheless.

Check out some of these other Eagles stories as well.