The Philadelphia Eagles are back in action this week for the first time since February’s devastating Super Bowl loss. Saturday’s preseason opener is a big one as it pits the Eagles head-to-head against the always-tough Baltimore Ravens.
Many Philly fans are tuning in this weekend to see how their returning favorites perform while others are excited for this year’s crop of rookies to debut.
Linebacker Nolan Smith — taken 30th overall out of Georgia in April — is one rookie who fans are dying to see on the field. Not only is he a versatile threat on the gridiron, but his off-field personality has earned him a lot of love across Philadelphia.
Eagles fanatics are bound to love Smith even more after they hear his latest quote regarding his preseason debut.
The 6-foot-2, 238-pound LB announced Friday morning that he’s going “balls to the wall” against the Ravens, regardless if it’s a relatively meaningless matchup, per CBS Sports‘ Jeff Kerr.
If that quote doesn’t make even the most casual Eagles fans run through a wall for a preseason game, I don’t know what would.
Smith’s hard-working attitude toward an exhibition contest shouldn’t be that surprising. The Savannah, GA native tore his pectoral against Florida in October, forcing him to miss the remainder of his final NCAA season.
The 22-year-old told reporters that he remembers how it felt being unable to finish his 2022 campaign and that’s why he plays every snap as if it’ll be his last one.
A big part of Smith looking and acting like a pro likely has to do with his being comfortable in a new environment. Philadelphia also drafted former Georgia defenders Jalen Carter (Round 1, No. 9) and Kelee Ringo (Round 4, No. 105) this spring, reuniting the trio with Najobe Dean and Jordan Davis, who were both selected last year.
Assuming that Smith and the rest of his fellow Georgia alumni can bring the magic that they had a Georgia — which led to two National Championships — to Philly, the Eagles’ defense fire up the fanbase for years to come.
Until then, the Eagles head into their matchup against the Ravens with +800 odds to win Super Bowl LVIII, which ranks second-best on FanDuel Sportsbook, only behind the Kansas City Chiefs (+600).