How Will Alshon Jeffery be Remembered by Eagles Fans?

There were some bumps during his four years in Philadelphia but the good should outweigh any of the perceived bad
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The Eagles are running out of players who helped them win their first Super Bowl just three winters ago.

Alshon Jeffery is the latest to be cast adrift, released on Wednesday night just two days after another member of that title team, defensive back Jalen Mills, left for a four-year deal with the New England Patriots.

There are now nine players left who were on the field that early February night in 2018 night when the Eagles vanquished Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, 41-33, in Super Bowl 52.

They are Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson, Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Rick Lovato, Derek Barnett, Zach Ertz, and Rodney McLeod.

Ertz could be gone any day now, further shrinking the number.

It’s up to the Eagles front office now to find some new players to win another Super Bowl and hope it doesn’t take another 52 years.

Defensive tackle Malik Jackson, the Eagles’ prized free-agent signing from just two years ago, was also released with Jeffery. Both players are 31.

Jackson missed the celebratory parade after that Super Bowl triumph and leaves after playing just 16 of 32 games and 2.5 sacks. His departure depletes a defensive tackle group that has left Cox, Javon Hargrave, T.Y. McGill, and Raequan Williams.

Are the three not named Cox part of the next wave that will lead to another Super Bowl?

Time will tell.

Jeffery, though, was a big reason for that wild and wonderful parade.

Exactly how Jeffery will be remembered by Eagles fans is up for debate.

The receiver came to Philadelphia as a free agent shortly after the market opened in 2017, agreeing to a one-year contract despite having been offered more money and more years by other teams.

Jeffery teamed up nicely with another free agent receiver that year, Torrey Smith, to make 57 catches for 789 yards and nine touchdowns. 

In the postseason he was deadly, recording 12 receptions for 219 yards and three scores in three games, including three grabs for 73 yards and a 34-yard touchdown in the Super Bowl despite playing with a torn labrum in his shoulder.

Leading up to the Big Game, Jeffery helped give his teammates the belief they would win, according to many of them who were interviewed that week.

In four years with the Eagles, he had 171 catches in 46 regular-season games for 2,237 yards (13.1 yards per catch average) with 20 touchdowns.

A quiet and shy man from a small town in South Carolina, attending Calhoun County High School with a total enrollment of about 440 students in grades nine through 12, Jeffery was never comfortable in the media spotlight.

He didn’t talk to reporters at all this past season and was usually a reluctant interview when media was allowed in the locker room before the pandemic hit.

Jeffery also is blamed for leaking information to a national reporter, critical of Carson Wentz and the front office.

In hindsight, criticism of Wentz wasn’t done by anyone publicly or privately to the coaches or front office for fear of some kind of retaliation of speaking out against the now-former franchise quarterback, per reporting from The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane earlier in the week.

So, perhaps Jeffery – if it truly was Jeffery – felt feeding anonymously-sourced information was his only avenue to criticize the QB without repercussions.

Jeffery took some criticism last year when he returned from offseason surgery for taking reps away from some of the Eagles’ younger players, though it wasn’t his fault that the coaching staff elected to play someone who the fan base knew had no more future with the team.

Is that enough for him to not be remembered fondly by a fan base that got to witness the franchise’s first Super Bowl title with a big assist from Jeffery to make it happen?

Maybe this sways the tide:

Jeffery let a ball go through his hands that led to an interception in the NFC Divisional Round of the playoffs in 2018 in New Orleans. The pick happened late in a very close game and with the Eagles deep in Saints territory, snuffing the possibility of a win that would have led to a second straight trip to the NFC Championship Game.

Jeffery immediately accepted responsibility for the drop. 

Days later he showed up at a Philadelphia area elementary school after receiving letters from second-grade students there with words of encouragement.

Jeffery was always about the fans and aiming to please them, admitting to me as much during a one-on-one interview in his first training camp as an Eagle.

Some fans turned on him, but Jeffery should be remembered for the positive and not the negative especially because who knows when another group of individuals will bond to bring another Super Bowl title to the region.

Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s EagleMaven. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.