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Eagles Jersey Countdown To Kickoff Reaches 'Jaws'

Ron Jaworski sits at the top of one of the more interesting numbers in team history, with another quarterback right behind him and another at runner-up, though a punter broke in at the No. 3 position

It’s exactly one week from the 2020 season-opener at Washington which leads us to one of the most famous Eagles of all-time in our jersey countdown to kickoff, franchise Hall of Fame quarterback Ron Jaworski.

Nearly 35 years after his playing career ended in town, Jaworski could be even better known today than he was as the first signal-caller to lead the Eagles to the Super Bowl.

Long stints on television with both ESPN and NFL Network, as well as a local-radio presence, have kept Jaworski at the forefront of the NFL world and he’s always been a successful local businessman, running Ron Jaworski Golf, based out of South Jersey, which manages courses around the Delaware Valley.

Jaworski was also a part-owner of the Philadelphia Soul, along with Albany and Atlantic City in the old Arena Football League, and is often brought in by Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie as a consultant when it comes to key football decisions.

On the field, Jaworski was traded by the Los Angeles Rams after losing a competition to Pat Haden to the Eagles for star tight end Charle Young in 1977. He was the starter in Philadelphia for the next decade, topping out in 1980 when he lead the team to Super Bowl XV where it lost to the Oakland Raiders.

Known as “The Polish Rifle” before morphing into “Jaws” in Philly, Jaworski was the NFC Player of the Year in 1980 and also won the Bert Bell Award, the Maxwell Club’s honor for best NFL player. Jaworski remains a big part of the Maxwell Club Awards to this day.

He started 137 as the Eagles’ quarterback before being replaced by Randall Cunningham in 1986, his last season with the Eagles.

Jaworski finished his 15-year career with one-year stints in Miami and Kansas City before returning to the area where he has become a staple in the community.

Current number 7:

Nate Sudfeld. Sudfeld, a fifth-year player out of Indiana, seemed to successfully hold off rookie Jalen Hurts is training camp to be Carson Wentz’s backup although there could be some mixing and matching there.

Doug Pederson may insert packages for the dual-threat Hurts to take advantage of the running threat, but if he needs a full game from a backup the Eagles will likely turn to the veteran Sudfeld as Hurts continues to ramp up in the offense after no offseason and a somewhat limited summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Originally a sixth-round pick in Washington, Sudfeld arrived in 2017 by eschewing the then-Redskins and signing with the Eagles’ practice squad as the No. 3 QB behind Wentz and Nick Foles. Later that season Indianapolis wanted to sign Sudfeld off the Philadelphia PS and the Eagles responded by promoting him to the active roster in November where he remained through the Super Bowl LII win, ultimately taking over as the backup when Wentz went down with a torn ACL and ACL in December.

He remained the third-stringer at the start of 2018 and was again bumped up when Wentz was shit down with a stress fracture in his back. By last season Sudfeld was supposed to take over as the full-time backup but his own injury, a broken left wrist in the preseason, forced the Eagles to go outside the organization for Josh McCown.

Top 3 to wear number 7:

3. Sean Landeta. One of the better punters in NFL history, Landeta spent an astonishing 22 years in the NFL and he actually punted for a quarter-century.

The sojourn actually started in Philadelphia in the old USFL with the Stars where he made his mark as arguably the best punter in league history being named to the USFL All-Time Team. He was with the Stars through three seasons, the move to his home town of Baltimore, and won two championships in that league.

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It took him 15 years to return to Philadelphia as Landeta developed into one of the best punters in the NFL during long stints with the Giants and Rams. At age 37 Landeta signed with the Eagles and was the punter for four seasons at the beginning of the Andy Reid era (1999-2002). Although aging, Landeta was solid, never averaging less than 42.3 yards per punt. He also returned for five games at age 43.

As a member of the Eagles in 2001, Landeta set the NFL's all-time record for number of punts in a career, punting yardage, and punts inside the 20. By the time he retired in 2005, Landeta’s number of punts, punting yards, and punts inside the 20 were all either first or second in league history.

He finished as a seven-time All-Pro, a two-time Super Bowl champion, a member of both the All-Decade Teams in the 1980s and 1990s, as well as a member of the Giants’ All-Time Team, the Eagles’ 75th Anniversary Team, and the St. Louis Rams’ 20th Anniversary Team.

2. Michael Vick. Jeffrey Lurie took a chance on Vick in 2009, a pariah at the time after a dogfighting conviction and federal prison term erased two years from his career.

At the time, Vick’s potential return was a hot-button issue and few organizations were even considering such a decision due to the potential backlash. The Eagles dove in during training camp, signing Vick to a $1.6 million deal with no guaranteed money with a team option if things worked out.

Vick was active by the third game and served as Donovan McNabb’s backup.

By 2010, McNabb was traded to Washington and the Eagles were planning on moving on to Kevin Kolb as Vick was again tabbed to be the backup. That lasted all of three weeks before a Kolb concussion and Vick took over, starting 12 games while being named to the Pro Bowl and honored as the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year.

For the next two seasons, Vick was the starter when healthy as well before an injury, By 2013 Chip Kelly had arrived and announced a QB competition between Vick, Nick Foles, and Matt Barkley which was won by Vick before a hamstring injury forced Foles into the lineup and the famed 27-and-2 season commenced for the popular backup.

By 2014, Vick was with the New York Jets and he was out of the NFL for good by 2016.

1. Ron Jaworksi. See Above

Runner-up: Sam Bradford. Bradford was the bridge between Nick Foles and Carson Wentz, Chip Kelly’s starter in 2015, the coach's last with the Eagles. Bradford was traded to the Eagles, along with a 2015 fifth-round pick, in exchange for Foles, a 2015 fourth-round pick, and a 2016 second-round pick, in a rare deal that swapped starting QBs.

Statistically, Bradford was fine, throwing for over 3,700 yards and 19 touchdowns while starting 14 games. Philadelphia was mediocre, however, and Kelly was fired with Doug Pederson coming in for the 2016 season.

Before the draft that year Bradford signed a two-year, $36 million extension and the Eagles then drafted Wentz at No. 2 overall. The original plan was for a Wentz redshirt year behind Bradford and Chase Daniel but a catastrophic injury to Teddy Bridgewater in Minnesota had the Vikings desperate for a QB and Rick Spielman gave Philadelphia his first-round pick in 2017 for Bradford, which turned out to be Derek Barnett.

Others: Dick Frahm, Roy Zimmerman, John Huarte, Jim Ward, John Reaves, Roger Ruzek, Ken O’Brien, Bobby Hoying, and Jeff Garcia.

John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John every Monday and Friday on SIRIUSXM, and every Monday and Thursday with Eytan Shander on SportMap Radio. You can reach him at jmcmullen44@gmail.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen

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