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'Dreams come true': Eagles' Haason Reddick changed his career path with help of family and hometown ties

EJ Smith, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Football

Once Reddick accepted his mom’s advice and stayed with football, he moved forward with one goal.

He was going to repay his mom, and his coaches knew it.

“I remember him talking about how important it was for him to be successful,” former Owls defensive line coach Elijah Robinson said. “To just be able to pay her back after everything she’s done for him. After that conversation we had, to watch the way he worked to try to achieve that goal and then to watch him get drafted, I was watching his dreams come true.”

Hard work aside, part of Reddick’s path to success at Temple was sheer luck.

After he redshirted his freshman season, Owls coach Steve Addazio told him there wouldn’t be a spot for him the following year. Fortunately for Reddick, Addazio left for Boston College later that offseason. The next coaching staff, led by Matt Rhule, was willing to try to find the right position for the undersized, unheralded player from across the bridge who had played just four games in his junior and senior years at Haddon Heights High School due to injuries.

Rhule’s staff put him at outside linebacker and he eventually carved out a special teams role as a redshirt freshman. That next offseason, the Owls moved him to defensive end. He might have been small — he was listed at 6-foot-1, 225 pounds — but he was one of the strongest players on the team.

 

Once they saw Reddick working the edge, everyone knew they were on to something.

“He was a natural from the jump, to be honest,” said New Orleans Saints edge rusher Sharif Finch, who shared the defensive-line room with Reddick at Temple. “He never really had a problem. It was only a matter of time.”

Seeing Reddick’s speed around the corner, his coaches decided to hold off teaching him the finer details of their defensive scheme. He wasn’t exactly allowed to freelance, but they didn’t want him making too many reads on his way to the quarterback.

“With the tools he had, you don’t slow that down,” Robinson said. “He was a weapon. He was a guy that could bend, could get off the ball, he was violent with his hands. You have to allow guys like that to do what they do best. He was best at causing havoc.”

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