When the Philadelphia Eagles‘ starting center Jason Kelce was carted off of the field against the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday, backup Dallas Reynolds stepped onto the turf for the first regular season action of his NFL career.
For many players in the NFL this moment is inevitable, but for Reynolds it sometimes seemed like his time would never come.
Reynolds was signed by the Eagles in 2009 as a free agent, after being bypassed by all 32 teams in the NFL Draft, and has since spent the past three seasons on the team’s practice squad.
An NFL practice squad player is one of the most unstable jobs in all of professional sports.
It consists of being cut by the team each season and then hopefully being signed back as a reserve player who only possibly gets a call up to the live roster if somebody gets cut or goes on the injured reserve. Even this can be a stretch at times, as many teams tend to sign new talent when any player goes down with injury.
In 2012, Reynolds finally made the Eagles’ active roster and came into the season as Kelce’s primary backup at center. But the possibility of a slow, gradual transition into an NFL starter was quickly shattered when Kelce went down in Week 2 with a season-ending knee injury.
Reynolds will start at center for the Eagles on Sunday as the birds face the Arizona Cardinals in the desert. As we all know, the Philadelphia faithful are some of the most critical fans in the NFL, who rarely show much patience.
Reynolds will be forced to step his game up very quickly, as it will be his job this Sunday to anchor the Eagles’ offensive line and protect QB Michael Vick with everything he has.
This is a a tall task for anybody to live up to, but it is especially difficult when you are on a team that expects so much from its players, and so quickly.
Even though Reynolds is highly inexperienced, the young center is going to have to grow up very quickly, as he takes over as the focal point of the Eagles’ offensive line.
All eyes are on you young man. Make Philly proud.
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