Philadelphia Eagles: Darius Slay knows Asante Samuel is a Hall of Famer

(Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
(Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia Eagles have a Pro Bowl cornerback.

I know this isn’t new news, it’s actually about a week old, but gosh, after suffering through a decade where a leaky secondary was an accepted reality, it feels darn good to finally have a certified star on the perimeter.

You know, Slay actually marks the first Eagles cornerback to earn a spot in the Pro Bowl since Hall of Fame cornerback Asante Samuel all the way back in 2010.

… what? Asante Samuel isn’t in the Hall of Fame? Yup, it’s true, and in a very welcomed twist of one Philadelphia Eagle helping another, Darius Slay would like to see that change.

Asante Samuel deserves more respect from non-Philadelphia Eagles fans.

When the Philadelphia Eagles signed Asante Samuel to a six-year, $56 million contract in 2008, it was a massive get.

After fielding a solid secondary featuring Lito Sheppard, Sheldon Brown, and Brian Dawkins back at safety, the Eagles secured themselves a two-time Super Bowl champion coming off a Pro Bowl season with their Super Bowl rivals, the New England Patriots. Sure, at the time, $9.33 million a year for a cornerback seemed like a lot, but Samuel quickly backed it up with exceptional on-field performances and the flashy stats to back it up.

Over his four years in South Philly, Samuel racked up 136 tackles, 64 passes defensed, and 23 interceptions. Samuel scored two touchdowns off of interceptions, the second-most of any player in franchise history behind only Eric Allen, and formed a dominant one-two-three punch alongside Sheppard and Brown, at least initially.

For his efforts, Samuel was named to three-straight Pro Bowls from 2008-10 and landed on two All-Pro lists, on the second team in 2009 and the first team in 2010.

Had the Eagles not signed Nnamdi Asomugha in free agency and traded Kevin Kolb to the Arizona Cardinals for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, maybe Samuel would have finished out his career in Philly. Had the team hired a legit defensive coordinator instead of giving Juan Castillo the reigns, maybe the Eagles could have made that trio work, but alas, it just wasn’t meant to be. The Eagles traded Samuel to Atlanta for the pick eventually used to draft Bryce Brown, and played out the final two seasons of his contract before hanging up his cleats.

But hey, this isn’t about the Eagles’ decision-making in the final years of the Andy Reid era. No, this is about Samuel’s case for the Hall of Fame, which, as Slay suggests, is pretty good.

With his playing days long since passed and his namesake son now playing in the NFL, Samuel’s finished stat line reads like this: 439 tackles, 164 passes defensed, 51 interceptions, and six touchdowns in 157 career games. Samuel made four Pro Bowls, three All-Pro lists, and led the league in interceptions twice, all the while winning two Super Bowls as a member of the New England Patriots.

Yeah, that sounds like a Hall of Famer if you ask me.

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Who knows, maybe Asante Samuel will one day make it to the Hall of Fame. Maybe Darius Slay will follow suit many years down the line, and the duo will celebrate their accomplishments at the Philadelphia Eagles’ centennial celebration in 2033. Either way, it’s certainly cool to know that fans in the City of Brotherly Love have been afforded more than a few opportunities to watch Pro Bowl cornerbacks on the field, even if it took a decade between them.