Darius Slay will have a chance to extend his touchdown-scoring streak to three straight games when the Eagles travel to North Jersey to play the New York Giants on Sunday (1 p.m.).
The cornerback known as Big Play Slay certainly has been.
Cleared from concussion protocol and cleared to play, a TD encore could be in the offing when the Eagles defense lines up against New York QB Daniel Jones, who’s been known to give up the ball a time or two or three in a game.
Slay ripped off a 51-yard interception return in last week’s win over the New Orleans Saints and had an 83-yard fumble return for a score the week before in a win over the Denver Broncos.
The score against the Saint was special to Slay, and he showed it, by leaping onto a barrier separating the fans from the field and striking a pose.
“I was in my Kobe moment,” said Slay referring to the late Kobe Bryant leaping onto the scorer’s table after the Lakers beat the Celtics in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals.
“I know it was in a championship finals game, but I felt like it. My first turnover as an Eagle in the Linc, so I kind of felt like Kobe a little bit, and he’s from Philly. He’s my idol, so I felt that.”
Slay, who is playing at an All-Pro level, has three touchdowns this season. He had only one during the first eight years of his career.
He was named All-Pro in 2017, which was also the first time he made the Pro Bowl. He followed that up with two more Pro Bowls, in 2018 and 2019, but hasn't been named All-Pro except for that one time.
Slay said those sorts of accolades matter to him.
“Yes, I care about that stuff,” he said on Friday. “You get a lot of free stuff. So always a blessing. It’s a free trip. Kids get to go to Disney World. My family loves that trip. And it shows the hard work you put in throughout the whole year, so it’s always a blessing to go to that.
“I’ve always been a top guy in this game. I don’t really care about a (ranking) number, whatever I’m ranked at, but I know I'm one of the best in this game and I’m going to continue to keep being that for this team and for myself. I’ll just keep executing.”
Slay doesn’t believe like his touchdown run will help him get into another Pro Bowl, which would be his first as an Eagle.
“I only had one touchdown before this, and still had three Pro Bowls, so it ain’t really about the touchdowns, it’s about the respect level and coaches that see me and what I put out on film,” he said. “Fans involved in it, too, so fans get to see it, and especially now that I’m in Philly, a lot more with the fans, a little more than Detroit.”
Slay will likely be matched up with his good friend Kenny Golladay. The two were teammates in Detroit before Slay was traded to Philly after the 2019 season and Golladay signed a free-agent deal with the Giants this past offseason.
Golladay has, so far, been a disappointment with just 20 catches for 322 yards. Still looking for his first touchdown catch of the season, he has played just seven games due to injury.
“He’s a great dude, one of my best friends for sure,” said Slay. “We talk all the time, hang out together. We’re looking forward to going against each other in different jerseys.”
And how does Slay feel about the Giants possibly playing with a bigger chip on their shoulder this week after feeling like the Eagles cost them a playoff spot by perceiving to tank the season-finale against Washington – even though the Giants were 6-10 - when then-head coach Doug Pederson pulled Jalen Hurts and inserted backup Nate Sudfeld at quarterback for the final quarter?
“I really don’t care,” sad Slay drawing out the ‘I’ for a few seconds.
“I don’t worry about a grudge. That’s the last thing I’m worried about, something that happened a whole year ago. Hey, that got nothing to do with us. They should’ve won more games, like us. Same thing, both our situations. They should’ve won earlier just like we should’ve won earlier.”
Still, this is a chance for New York to gain some revenge since the Eagles are back in the playoff hunt again after winning two straight to get to 5-6 while New York, at 3-7, appears headed for a fifth straight losing season.
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglemaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.