The Philadelphia Eagles had been counting on Marcus Epps to take over the starting safety spot vacated by Rodney McLeod. The 26-year-old veteran still might win the job at training camp despite the team adding Jaquiski Tartt to the mix. No matter who wins the position battle, those guys need to be themselves.
That was the message directed at them from Eagles hero Malcolm Jenkins. The two-time Super Bowl champion was attempting to replace a legend in Brian Dawkins when he inked with Philly back in 2014. Jenkins knew what he was getting into at the time and studied Dawkins’ tape while trying to emulate him.
He couldn’t. Different players, different skillsets. Jenkins explained how it all went down during an interview with Conor Myles of Sports Illustrated’s Eagles Today.
“You can’t be Dawkins or myself,” Jenkins said. “I watched Dawkins’ tape. I tried. I can’t do what he does. That’s why he is who he is.
“So, Epps has to find out what he does really well and I think he’s got great ball skills. He’s got range and tackles well. As long as he continues to develop his game and focuses on being the best Epps he can be, he’ll be fine. ”
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Jenkins Making ‘Scratch Bourbon’ with Distillery
Jenkins announced his retirement from the NFL on March 30, 2022 after 13 seasons and two Super Bowl rings. Despite hanging up his cleats, the community organizer and social justice advocate promised to remain a loud voice for “systemic change.”
One way Jenkins is doing that is through a new partnership with New Liberty Distillery in Kensington. He is attempting to address the lack of diversity in the spirits industry.
“As the first spirit group to source from Black and brown farmers and vendors from grain to glass, we will be creating a delicious scratch bourbon that will help make serious systemic changes,” Jenkins told Billy Penn.
The marriage to brown liquor was a natural one for Jenkins who holds an annual “Blitz, Bow Ties and Bourbon” fundraiser gala through the Malcolm Jenkins Foundation. The retired safety has been participating in community events in Philadelphia and New Orleans – his two adopted cities from his playing days – this summer.
Playing Football, Having Fun in Philadelphia
When the Eagles signed Jenkins to a three-year deal in 2014, the former first-round pick was at a low point in his career. Pro Football Focus rated him near the bottom of their free-agent class. He was ranked one of the worst safeties in the NFL, but the Eagles saw promise and inked him to a prove-it contract.
It turned out to be an incredibly fruitful relationship for both sides. Jenkins said his six years in Philadelphia were the “most fun” of his career.
“When I put on that Eagles uniform, it was me just really all expectations on the ground, and just having fun again,” Jenkins told Conor Myles. “It changed my career. During the six years I did in Philly I had the most fun playing the game of football. ”
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