10 notable Eagles who began their NFL careers in Washington

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Who are the top 10 Washington football players who became Eagles? originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

With the Eagles signing Ryan Kerrigan, who spent his first 11 seasons with Washington, it got us thinking about other prominent players who started their careers with Washington and made their way to Philadelphia at some point.

There’s a Super Bowl MVP in there, a Hall of Famer and another should-be Hall of Fame and lots of other interesting names.

This list doesn’t include players who started with the Eagles and then played for Washington (Sonny Jurgensen, Mark Moseley, Donovan McNabb) or players who went from the Eagles to Washington and back to the Eagles (DeSean Jackson, Jeremiah Trotter).

But here are 10 notable Eagles who made their way up I-95 North from Washington to Philadelphia.

Raleigh McKenzie: McKenzie was a solid interior lineman who spent his first 10 years with Washington and was the starting left guard on the 1987 and 1991 Super Bowl championships teams. He signed with the Eagles in 1995 and made an immediate impact with his leadership and solid play on a team with a rookie coach that went 10-6, made the playoffs and beat the Lions 58-37 in a wild-card game at the Vet. After two seasons in Philly – both playoff seasons – McKenzie played four more years with the Chargers and Packers.

Art Monk: By the time Monk got to Philly in 1995, he already had an NFL-record 934 receptions and ranked 4th in NFL history with 12,607 yards. He had over 1,000 postseason yards and had won two Super Bowls. He only played three games here before he broke his arm during a game against the Bears at Soldier Field while being tackled by Mark Carrier after a 36-yard gain on the final play of his NFL career. He had 6-for-114 as an Eagle and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008. (He was also my teammate on the White Plains High School track team.)

Mark Rypien: Rypien was a two-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl MVP in 1991 after throwing for 292 yards and two touchdowns in Washington’s 37-24 win over the Bills in Super Bowl XXVI in Minneapolis. After six years in Washington, he bounced around to the Browns and Rams before landing with the Eagles in 1996. He played in one regular-season game – mop-up duty against the Colts – and then in the wild-card loss to the 49ers at Candlestick Park, Ray Rhodes benched Ty Detmer with the Eagles trailing 14-0 and replaced him with Rypien, who went 5-for-12 for 77 yards and an interception. That was it for his Eagles career.

Barry Wilburn: Wilburn had been a 1st-team all-pro safety in 1987 with Washington, when he led the NFL with nine interceptions and added two more in Washington’s Super Bowl XXII win over the Broncos in San Diego. He played in the CFL in 1994 and 1995 (he’s one of 10 players to win a Super Bowl and Gray Cup) but returned to the NFL with the Eagles in 1996. In the 58-37 wild-card win over the Lions at the Vet, he had a 24-yard pick-6 off Scott Mitchell that gave the Eagles a 23-7 lead during the 31-point second quarter.

Brian Mitchell: After 10 seasons and eight return TDs (six punt, two kickoff) with Washington, Mitchell joined the Eagles in 2000 and added four more return TDs – two punts, two kicks. His 25.3 kick return average is 7th-highest in Eagles history and his 11.7 punt return average is 5th-highest. His four career return TDs in the kicking game is tied for 3rd-most in Eagles history. Steve Van Buren had five (three kick, two punt) and Timmy Brown had seven (five kick, one punt, one field goal). Mitchell also had an 85-yard TD run against the Falcons in 2000, the 3rd-longest TD run in Eagles history.

Norm Snead: Snead was the second pick in the 1961 draft but only spent three years with Washington (going 9-30) before he was traded to the Eagles for Sonny Jurgensen before the 1964 season. While Jurgensen was having a Hall of Fame career in Washington, Snead went 28-50-3 in 81 starts with the Eagles. He spent seven years with the Eagles and never had a winning record. The Eagles finally moved on from Snead after the 1970 season and he bounced around to the Vikings, Giants, 49ers and back to the Giants, playing a total of 16 seasons and starting 159 games without a postseason appearance.

Shawn Barber: Barbers, Washington’s 4th-round pick in 1999, spent his first four seasons in Washington before signing a one-year deal with the Eagles in 2002. He had a solid year, with two INTs, a pick-6, two forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, a sack and 93 tackles before going to the Chiefs for three years. Barber returned to the Eagles as a backup in 2006.

Kurt Gouveia: Another former Washington player on the 1995 Eagles. The connection was Chuck Banker, who had been a scout for years with Washington and was the Eagles’ director of pro personnel in the mid-1990s. Gouveia, a backup on the 1987 and 1991 Super Bowl champions, was mainly a backup and special teamer in Washington – he started 41 games in eight years. But he was a full-time starter with the Eagles on the 1995 playoff team before going to San Diego and eventually finishing his career back in Washington.

David Akers: Before he became an all-time great Eagle, Akers was an undrafted rookie in Washington. He played in one game in Washington in 1998, missing his only two field goal attempts, from 48 and 49 yards in a game against the Seahawks in Seattle. The Eagles signed him and he proceeded to play in 188 games in an Eagles uniform, more than anybody else in franchise history. His 1,323 points are not only a franchise record, they’re 442 more than anybody else. When he retired after the 2013 season, his 1,721 points were 11th-most in NFL history.

James Thrash: He wasn’t as bad as you think. After four years in Washington, Thrash spent three years with the Eagles and caught 164 passes for 2,206 yards and 15 TDs in three years. Charlie Smith is the only undrafted WR with more catches, yards or TDs in Eagles history. During the three years from 2001 through 2003, Rod Smith was the only undrafted WR in the NFL with more yards than Thrash. He also was decent in the postseason, with 5-for-73 in the 2001 playoff win in Chicago and 2-for-77 with a 35-yard TD in the 2002 postseason win over the Falcons.

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