Joe Flacco Explains Decision to Sign with his Hometown Team

The veteran quarterback met with the Philadelphia media just a day after signing to play for the Eagles organization he grew up a fan of just across the river in New Jersey
Author:
Updated:
Original:

PHILADELPHIA – The Sixers couldn’t bring home Kyle Lowry, but, hey, at least a four-for-four Philadelphia fan can drown its sorrows with the Eagles bringing home Joe Flacco.

Or not.

Lowry, who is from Philadelphia and went to Villanova, and Flacco, who is from Audubon, N.J. and went to Delaware, are about the same age, though the quarterback, at 36, has the basketball player beat by a year.

“I’m always keeping an eye on them,” said Flacco about the Eagles. “When I was in Baltimore, I was the biggest Baltimore fan in the world and it was honestly a lot of fun to have a chance to play against the Eagles because I wanted to beat them even more just from being from around here, so obviously this is going to be a little bit different angle on that and probably more fun.”

Who knows what Flacco has left in the tank? 

He seemed to think plenty when he met with Eagles reporters on Thursday morning.

“I still believe in myself and believe in all the things I can do,” said Flacco. “I think that’s the only way you can get to where you want to and do the things you want to do. What I learned about myself last year was I love football. It doesn’t really matter the capacity that I’m doing it in.

“I love football and I love the opportunity to come in here with the guys every day and do what I love, go out on the practice field and compete with everybody and bring the best out in every single person in the room. I love doing it. Last year definitely proved that because it was a little bit of a different role and I still enjoyed it to the nth degree. Can’t wait for it again.”

Flacco was a backup for the New York Jets last year but started four games when Sam Darnold got hurt. It was unfamiliar territory for the former Super Bowl MVP.

He will probably be in a similar role this year behind Jalen Hurts, though he insisted he’s not here to hold a clipboard. He wants to challenge to start.

“Once I meet the guys and dive into this offense, it’s going out on the field and proving to everybody that I’m not just some old guy that’s been around the league and is coming to a new team,” he said.

The money it took to sign Flacco looked laughable on Wednesday, but further clarity was given by NFL Media, reporting that the salary cap hit will be just $1.56 million. 

He is getting a$2.45 signing bonus with a $1.705M salary guarantee. Yes, he can make up to $4M in incentives and there are four voidable years, but the cap number is what matters in 2021.

The Eagles are short of cash this year, but will be out of that hole in 2022, when Carson Wentz’s dead money comes off the books and a new TV contract kicks in, so booting the proverbial can down the road shouldn’t be too big of a concern.

“There was definitely some interest out there,” said Flacco before deciding to sign with the Eagles. “I really didn’t want to bring in the location as a factor in my decision. I wanted to give myself the best opportunity to be in a good situation, and I just felt like the new coaching staff and their youth and their excitement, and the possibility of what they’re going to bring really led to the decision.”

Flacco said it was the Eagles’ new coaching staff that helped sway him, not so much the part about growing up an Eagles fan.

He said he didn’t call any previous teammates who have experienced playing for head coach Nick Sirianni or offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, such as Tyrod Taylor, because he didn’t feel he needed to get anyone’s opinion.

“I felt comfortable enough when I came in here and met with these guys and liked the feel I got from them,” said Flacco. “I liked the little bit of stuff I had gotten on the football side of them. 

"Obviously, Shane was out there last year in LA and they were able to do some good things with a young quarterback (Justin Herbert). There are some exciting things there for sure.”

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.