Philadelphia Eagles: Wendell Smallwood still bleeds green in Washington

(Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images)
(Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images) /

Despite playing for the division rival Washington Redskins, Super Bowl 52 Champion Wendell Smallwood still bleeds green for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Growing up, Wendell Smallwood bled midnight green.

A born and bred son of Wilmington, Delaware, Smallwood grew up in the shadows on the City of Brotherly Love; forever entranced by the potential of playing for his hometown-adjacent team.

And some 22 years later, it happened.

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After a solid, philosophy-changing three-year tenure at West Virginia – capped off with a Big 12-leading 1,519 yards in 2015 – Smallwood was serendipitously selected by the Philadelphia Eagles with the 153rd overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft – with a chance to hone his craft under childhood favorite Duce Staley.

For a 215 kid, what more could you ask for? How about the team’s first Super Bowl championship.

That’s right, after a single season of transitional football alongside rookie franchise quarterback Carson Wentz and rookie head coach Doug Pederson, Smallwood and company rode their newfound culture all the way to Super Bowl 52 and a date with destiny – and the New England Patriots.

Granted, Smallwood didn’t exactly contribute all that much to the Eagles 41-33 trouncing of Tom Brady and company, but for a kid from the Delaware Valley, I can’t imagine a better feeling than bringing a championship parade up Broad Street.

But that’s the beauty – and tragedy – of sports, nothing lasts forever.

Six months removed from their Super Bowl win, the Eagles were once again in the hunt for a Super Bowl appearance, only this time, the team had to do so with a big ‘ole target on their collective backs.

While Smallwood and company put in work over a largely-inconsistent regular season, surging to a Wild Card berth down the stretch, the team ultimately petered out against the New Orleans Saints in the divisional round and had to watch from home as their 52 foes won their third Lombardi Trophy in five-years.

And despite rushing for a career-high 364 yards and three touchdowns to cap off a team-leading 850 yards from 2016-18, an influx of external talent shrunk Smallwood’s chances of making the roster considerably: to zero in hindsight.

But despite being passed over for potentially less impactful players (depending on your player evaluation skills), being waived in the final trim down to 53, and being claimed by the division rival Washington Redskins, Smallwood’s colors have stayed true: He still bleeds midnight green.

Want proof? Look no further than his interview with 6ABC.

That’s right, despite being claimed by Washington alongside 2018 teammate Treyvon Hester, presumably because of their experience with the Eagles’ system, Smallwood had no intentions of selling out his former club to give his new team an advantage in Week 1.

He even referred to Philly as ‘My Team’ while wearing a red, white, and gold uniform; how cool is that?

And hey, in a lot of ways, Smallwood’s first regular-season game of the 2019 season won’t be too different from his first 39 in the league; he’ll drive to the Linc, park his car, and head to the locker room before taking the field – only this time, it’ll be the visitors locker room.

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On one hand, it’s nice to see a former player remain gainfully employed after their tenure in the City of Brotherly Love comes to an end, but at the same time, it must hurt to achieve your lifetime goal and win a Super Bowl for your hometown club only to continue on with a division rival. Fortunately for Wendell Smallwood, I think Philadelphia Eagles history will think fondly of the Wilmington kid who made good as a hometown champion.