Why Rashaan Evans turned down other offers to sign with the Eagles originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
He could have gone back to the Titans, the team that drafted him in the first round in 2018.
He could have gone back to the Falcons, the team he started 17 games for last year.
Then the Eagles called.
“It was a no-brainer,” Rashaan Evans said.
Evans, who started 67 games for the Titans and Falcons over the last five years, arrived in Philadelphia Monday night and signed to the Eagles’ practice squad.
Safe bet a spot on the 53 is coming soon.
“For me during this situation, it was really about finding the right spot for me,” he said at his locker on Tuesday. “Being on a winning team, being part of a really great organization, this was the spot. As soon as I got the call, I was ready to go. I already had my bags packed.”
With Nakobe Dean now on Injured Reserve and required to miss at least four games, the Eagles are in dire straits at off-ball linebacker. Dean’s injury left undrafted Christian Elliss and training camp pickup Zach Cunningham as the only healthy linebackers on the roster.
With a short week and the Vikings coming to town, the Eagles promoted Nicholas Morrow from the practice squad and signed Evans, who wasn’t in a training camp this summer.
Elliss is the only one left, and he’ll make his first career start Thursday night. Cunningham didn’t play well against the Patriots and the Eagles thought enough of Morrow to cut him two weeks ago.
So now Evans is waiting in the wings for a chance that will likely come as soon as he’s ready to play. He was working out in Fort Lauderdale when the Eagles called on Monday.
“They were like, ‘Look, we want you to come on the team,’” Evans said. “I was like, ‘Shoot, let's do it.’ Got on the plane immediately.”
If it seems odd that a guy who started 17 games and had 159 tackles, two sacks, four pass breakups and six tackles for loss wasn’t even in a training camp, yeah, it is.
Evans was one of only five linebackers to reach those benchmarks last year, a list that also includes the Eagles’ Edwards.
Why wasn’t he in a camp? Evans has a good answer.
“I mean, you would have to (ask) the team,” he said with a laugh. “I think when teams kind of know who the guys that they want, they like certain guys, they basically go with them.
“For me, I kind of never really take it personal, never really look at it as an impediment on my game or anything like that. I kind of look at it more of just an opportunity thing for other guys. At the end of the day now, I'm just really glad Eagles saw something they needed to bring me on board.”
Evans is now one of 13 former 1st-round picks on the Eagles’ 69-man roster – seven on defense.
We all know the Eagles haven’t drafted a linebacker in the first round since Jerry Robinson in 1979, but they haven’t even had a 1st-round linebacker on the field since Ernie Sims in 2010 and before that Takeo Spikes in 2007.
Where does Evans fit in? He said the defense is similar to what Kirby Smart ran at Alabama. Eagles assistant special teams coordinator Joe Pannunzio was with Evans in Tuscaloosa and called Evans as soon as he signed to fill him in on the details.
“He got me real acquainted with how things are done here,” Evans said. “Some of the same stuff that I used to do at ‘Bama, even maybe a little bit of stuff I was doing in the league already. It’s kind of familiar.”
Now it’s just a matter of picking up the playbook and showing the coaches he’s ready to play.
“There's always going to be opportunity,” he said. “Injury is 100 percent guaranteed in this league. You can either be the guy that's hurt or you can be the guy that's coming up working to try to get a starting job.
“For me, I just look at it more like the best guys are going to play. If I'm that guy then I play. If not, I have to play my role as such. I'm definitely excited for the opportunity. I'm just glad that Eagle saw something in me to be able to bring it home.”