Philadelphia Eagles: Christian Hackenberg’s AAF comeback attempt is already over

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

After a failed preseason with the Philadelphia Eagles, Christian Hackenberg’s career as a professional quarterback is all but over thanks to an AAF benching.

Do you remember when the Philadelphia Eagles signed Christian Hackenberg to a preseason contract?

The Birds were coming off their first ever Super Bowl victory, and the newly minted world champions were flying high. With the basic nucleus of the 2017 team all but intact, better in some areas and worse in others, fans in the 215 seriously questioned whether or not their favorite team would ever lose another game again.

Who knows, maybe by defeating the New England Patriots, the Eagles had inadvertently ended one of the league’s most stalwart dynasties and ushered in a new era of Philadelphia as ‘Championtown, USA’.

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Boy, those were the days.

Fast forward one NFL calendar year and the Eagles didn’t, in fact, win a second straight Super Bowl, and are about to undergo one of the more important offseasons in franchise history that could make or break their championship viability for the foreseeable future.

And Hackenberg? Well, he’s playing in the AAF, aka the Alliance of American Football, and needless to say, things haven’t been going amazingly for the former Penn State Nittany Lion.

Selected sixth overall in the second round of the AAF Quarterbacks Draft, a four-round process used to divvy up potential signal callers in the league’s debut season, Hackenberg looked like the odds on favorite to become the Memphis Express‘ first starting quarterback after the player they selected third overall, Troy Cooke, failed to make the initial 52(not 53)-man roster.

That experiment lasted less than three games.

Though he did start all three games of the season so far, Hack has been a mess, throwing for only 277 yards on a 51.6 completion percentage with one touchdown vs. three interceptions.

Those numbers are good for a 43.5 quarterback rating and made Hackenberg the worst starting quarterback statistically in the entire league.

Hack was so bad in the Express’ third game of the season, against the Orlando Apollos, that he threw not one, but two interceptions on the evening, including an absolutely unconscionable interception linebacker Terence Garvin.

This was apparently enough for head coach Mike Singletary, as he benched the former NFL second-round pick for Zach Mettenberger, who finished out the game with 120 passing yards down the stretch, half of Hackenberg’s season total in about a third as much playing time.

While Metenberger is far from a world beater, a former sixth-round pick of the Tennessee Titans who played very poorly as the team’s pre-Marcus Mariota starter, he’s at least consistent by AAF standards and could give Singletary the traditional game manager he likely desires to run his throwback scheme.

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Hackenberg, on the other hand, has a world of potential, but after working with about a half a dozen different coaching staffs through college, the NFL, and now the AAF, it’s worth wondering if Penn State’s All-Time leading freshman passer’s career in football is all but over at the tender age of 24. But hey, at least he’ll have a nice, personalized Philadelphia Eagles jersey with his name on it and a summer’s worth of memories to recount fondly.