The Jersey Countdown to Kickoff is under two weeks and heads into some spooky territory at No. 13 and the brave soul who wore it best, Nelson Agholor.
Superstition is a powerful thing and that number is considered bad luck in our country. Consider that in high-rise buildings with elevators, 85 percent simply skip a named 13th floor.
In Eagles’ history, only eight players have had enough testicular fortitude to sport the number, and Agholor, the oft-maligned 2015 first-round pick who is now in Las Vegas after a disappointing five seasons with the Eagles, is a cut above.
Agholor, of course, actually started out wearing No. 17 but made the change in 2017 when the Eagles signed Alshon Jeffery, who excelled with that number with Chicago and was the higher-profile player.
Agholor deferred and actually had his best professional season, amassing 62 receptions for 768 yards and eight touchdowns in his first season with No. 13. He also arguably had his best game of the biggest stage, catching nine passes for 84 yards in the Super Bowl LII win over New England.
The Southern cal product was better known for his key drops, however, and generally poor grades from ProFootballFocus.com.
A sharp route-runner with top-tier athleticism, about the only things Agholor didn’t have to be a successful NFL receiver in Philadelphia, was the ability to track the football consistently down the field and the wherewithal to eliminate the drops.
Over his five seasons with the Eagles, Agholor did catch 224 passes but when you consider he was targeted 374 times, it was time to move on after a 2019 season cut short by a painful knee injury.
Current number 13:
Unassigned: No one is walking under any ladders this season.
Top 3 to wear number 13:
3. Damaris Johnson. The undersized receiver spent two seasons with the Eagles after catching on as an undrafted free agent out of Tulsa in 2012.
Johnson is best known for one of the longest punt returns in NFL history, a 98-yard touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football during his rookie campaign.
2. Josh Huff. A third-round pick of the Eagles out of Oregon in 2014, Huff never really developed as a receiver or manufactured-touch player during the Chip Kelly years but he was a solid return man, and his 107-yard kickoff return against Tennessee as a rookie remains the longest play in Philadelphia history.
In 2016, Huff also had a 98-yard kickoff return for a TD against Minnesota. His stint ended prematurely in 2016 after Huff was arrested on the Walt Whitman Bridge with marijuana and a firearm in his car.
1. Nelson Agholor. See Above
Lem Barnum. Barnum played for the Eagles in 1941 and 1942 and started eight games at QB. His name is also very close to Detroit Lions legendary cornerback Lem Barney, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1992. Yes, we are scraping the bottom of the barrel for nuggets here.
Others to wear No. 13: George Kenneally, Dave Smukler, Joe Hoague, Chuck Hughes, and Rick Engles.
-ohn 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 email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen
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