Isaac Seumalo Chasing a Shooting Star at No. 73

John McMullen

Shawn Andrews was turning into such a difference-maker early in his career that the Eagles handed him a seven-year contract extension to anchor the offensive line, but depression, coupled with back surgery, turned what could have been an all-time great run as the 16th overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft out of Arkansas into a short shelf life as one of the top right guards in the NFL.

Despite that expiration date coming far sooner than expected and Andrews playing just two games with the organization after his 25th birthday, everyone else in Eagles history who wore the No. 73, including current left guard Isaac Seumalo, is chasing Andrews’ legacy as the best.

From now until the Eagles begin the season at Washington on Sept. 13, SI.com EagleMaven will do a jersey countdown, listing the current Eagles player to wear the corresponding number to the days left before the season opener. As a bonus, we will list the top three players in team history to have that number.

Current number 73:

Isaac Seumalo. The versatile left guard of the Eagles has turned into one of the more underrated members of the current team because of the offensive linemen he’s played alongside, a host of All-Pros, Pro Bowl selections and potential future Hall of Famers, a list that includes Jason Peters, Jason Kelce, Lane Johnson and Brandon Brooks.

With no Brooks (torn Achilles’ in 2020) and presumably no Peters (still unsigned at the age of 38) Seumalo will be asked to pick up his game even further if the 2020 season is pulled off in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Isaac’s a phenomenal player,” said Kelce earlier this offseason. “He’s been definitely way better than people have any clue.”

Top 3 to wear number 73:

3. Tie: Isaac Seumalo/Lester Holmes.  Seumalo figures to rise on this list but Holmes shouldn't be forgotten.

A former first-round pick out of Jackson State in the 1993 draft, Holmes was a starter at right guard for the majority of his rookie deal. He never lived up to the billing as a first-rounder and never got a second contract in Philadelphia but he did start 38 of the 46 games he played for the organization and was competent for most of that time.

2. Ron Heller. A Penn State product, Heller wasn’t the most gifted offensive tackle but he was known for his toughness, nastiness and at least some would say dirty play, traits that were a bigger part of the NFL during his era.

From 1988 through 1992, Heller started 71 of the 75 games he played in Philadelphia at either right or left tackle. Overall, he played 12 NFL seasons and sandwiched his time with the Eagles with two Florida stays - first in Tampa then finishing his career in Miami. With both the Bucs and the Dolphins, Heller was a starter at RT.

Heller arrived in South Philadelphia via Seattle when the Seahawks acquired him and then flipped the New York native to Philadelphia for a fourth-round pick before the 1988 campaign.

After a knee injury forced Heller into retirement, he went into coaching for a bit, starting as an intern with the Amsterdam Admirals in NFL Europe. From there, Heller got a CFL gig as the O-Line coach for Toronto before returning to the NFL as an assistant in Jacksonville, Heller has been out of the league since a stint as the assistant PL coach with the New York Jets ended in 2015.

1. Shawn Andrews. By 2006 and 2007 Andrews was an All-Pro level player and the Eagles rewarded him with a monster seven-year contract extension, the length of which was rare, to say the least.

The fall started in the summer of 2008 with Andrews failing to report to training camp due to personal issues related to depression. He ultimately missed 17 days of camp and returned to the lineup before suffering a back injury that required surgery in the 2009 offseason. Andrews reinjured his back again and was gone by March of 2010.

Runner-up:

Steve Kenney. Kenney spent six of his seven pro seasons with the Eagles and was the starter at left guard the majority of the time between 1981 and 1985.

Others: 

Ed Kasky, Leo Disend, Rocco Canale, Vince Bogren, Henry Gude, Alfred Bauman, Fred Hartman, Roscoe Hansen, Lum Snyder, Sid Youngelman, Ed Khayat, Jim Norton, Richard Stevens, Pete Lazetich, Paul Ryczek, Jerry Crafts, Steve Martin, Oliver Ross, Jim Pyne, Kevin Dogins, Derrick Burgess, Bobby McCray, Julian Vandervelde, Joe Kruger, and Wade Smith.

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’s Tony Bruno Show with Harry Mayes, and every Tuesday and Thursday with Eytan Shander on SBNation Radio. You can reach him at jmcmullen44@gmail.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen

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