Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of Eagles fans showed up, love in their heart and something to sign in their hands.
They rolled into The Big Event in Cherry Hill for the 17th
“Bowl with the Birds,” hosted by Eagles safety Marcus Epps. Proceeds from the event benefit the Marcus Epps Family Foundation.
About a dozen of Epps’ teammates joined him, interacting with fans, taking selfies and signing autographs. Some of the players bowled and when one of the Eagles propelled a bowling ball down the lane, it was motoring. You can check out the video HERE.
There were plenty of star-struck kids, but probably just as many star-struck adults — nearly all wearing Eagles apparel.
There would be plenty of love for the Eagles anytime, but when your favorite team is an NFL-best 11-1, the outpouring was enormous.
“Go get ’Dallas. Get back soon,” one fan yelled to injured tight end Dallas Goedert, who is out with a shoulder injury. Goedert did not bowl, probably a good thing given his injury.
MARCUS EPPS’ CAREER
Epps is in his fourth season with the Eagles after being drafted in the sixth round by the Vikings. He played eight games with Minnesota before being waived. The Eagles claimed Epps off waivers.
“He’s a great person,” cornerback Avonte Maddox said about Epps.
“Ever since he got here, he always put his head forward and worked hard. He gives his best in everything he’s done and it’s really been showing on the field.”
Epps started five games in 2020 and three in 2021 at defensive back. He switched to safety this year, has started every game and going into Sunday’s Titans game, he was the only player on the team to have played every snap — all 723 on defense. Even Jalen Hurts hadn’t played every snap. He’s at 97.3 percent.
“It is pretty cool,” Epps said. “It’s something I take pride in. Just being somebody my teammates and coaches can count on.”
The 26-year-old has 62 tackles, four passes defended, two tackles for losses and one forced fumble. He also has played 116 snaps on special teams. Pretty impressive for a guy coming out of Huntington Beach (Calif.) Edison High without a scholarship. He walked on at Wyoming.
The Eagles’ secondary situation remains uncertain with C.J. Gardner-Johnson, the NFL’s interceptions co-leader, out indefinitely with a lacerated kidney. He was injured in Week 12 against the Packers.
Into the breach stepped undrafted rookie Reed Blankenship. After taking two snaps all season, Blankenship replaced Gardner-Johnson and played well, even intercepting legend Aaron Rodgers.
“I have great role models in the room,” Blankenship said. “Marcus Epps is a great role model.
“I look up to him every day. I give all my credit to him because he’s very confident in me. He teaches me a lot of stuff.
“I told him, if you need to talk to me, calm me down a little bit. He did. I love that dude to death. Hopefully, we can continue to be great back there.”
Epps said his mentoring Blankenship is just paying it forward.
“I just try to pass down knowledge and help guys in anyway I can,” Epps said. “It’s teammates, it’s a brotherhood and it’s what guys like … Rod [Rodney McLeod] and Anthony Harris and Harrison Smith did for me in my younger days. So, I’m always going to do the same for anyone else coming in.”
“I just always just want him to make sure that he knows I got his back, no matter what. He’s ready, he’s prepared, so don’t even go out there and think. Just go and play ball.
“Reed will be great. He comes in, he prepares. He’s a talented kid. So he’ll be just fine.”
Maddox is out with a hamstring injury. He’s missed the last four games.
“You’re sitting out and you’re watching everybody play and you [wish] were out there and you want to be able to contribute and help in anyway you can,” said Maddox, who has become an outstanding nickel back.
“The best thing to do is rest and heal up your body. It definitely sucks but we’re still playing well, Josiah’s [Scott] doing great.
“It’s not even a step down. Everyone come out to compete and get well and ready and real prepared for the games. We all trust each other.”
About the season, “I think it’s going really well right now, 10-1,” Epps said before Sunday’s victory.
Did Epps think that was possible back in the summer?
“Yes, we did,” Epps said.