HOMEWARD BOUND: Haason Reddick returns to familiar Lincoln Financial Field to face Eagles
When the Arizona Cardinals face the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, Haason Reddick will be bring his inspiring story back to Lincoln Financial Field where he starred as an outstanding player for Temple University. Reddick is now a terrific rookie linebacker for the Cardinals.
Reddick is quite a story. He grew up in Camden, N.J. and was a walk-on at Temple. Reddick will have a lot of fans from Camden and Philadelphia watching him play against the Eagles.
“I think the crowd will be welcoming, but we’ll see what happens,” Reddick told The Associated Press. “You never really know with the Philly crowd. The Philly crowd has always been a wild crowd. Philly will always be home. I’ll always have love for Philly.”
Reddick, a 6-foot-1, 235-pounder, has 18 total and 10 solo tackles this season. Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians has been very pleased with his play.
“It’s unbelievable to draft a kid who has never played inside linebacker and throw him out there and start him,” Arians said. “He has to be very, very special mentally and physically. He has played extremely well for us.
“We knew he was tough. He came up the right way. Great mom and pop, nothing was handed to him. He had to work for everything. He’s brought that work ethic with him.”
Arians is very familiar with the type of players Temple has produced over the years. He was the head coach at Temple from 1983-88. Arians coached the Owls great running back Paul Palmer, who was a Heisman Trophy candidate and a first-round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs.
Palmer, a former assistant football coach at Haddon Heights High School in New Jersey, coached Reddick during his scholastic career. He helped to shape his career at Haddon Heights as a coach and mentor.
“He’s a very smart kid,” said Palmer, who is the Temple football radio color analyst. “Some things you can’t teach is smarts. You can get in the weight room and get bigger, stronger or faster, but you can’t teach intelligence. He’s an intelligent kid. They threw everything at him and he hasn’t missed a beat. I just appreciate being a part of his life.”
Last season, Reddick led the country in tackles for loss with 22.5, which tied a Temple single-season record. he was second in the American Athletic Conference with 10.5 sacks, and received all-conference honors. Reddick played for Matt Rhule at Temple who is now the head coach at Baylor University. Rhule was there when Reddick was selected in the 2017 NFL Draft in Philly.
“I certainly root for him,” Rhule said. “I try to stay in touch with him. It was really one of the thrills of my career being with him when he got drafted. Just to have him go back home I know the people of Philly and Camden all respect him and love him. So, it will be really cool.”
Temple’s first-year head coach Geoff Collins had a chance to meet Reddick when he took over the Owls’ football program in the winter. He made a big impression on him right away.
“I think just the story of Haason — a walk-on No. 58 to a single digit [number] and to a late in his career being a starter to being a first-round draft pick,” Collins said. “That’s a special story. I just think who he is and how he’s handled it. The respect he has in this program is through the roof. He’s been great to me. We’ve tried to really bond with him. He knows how important he is. It’s his story that resonates through this entire program.”