Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks is a Super Bowl champion – but he wouldn’t be if Philadelphia had honored his trade request last summer.
Indeed, Kendricks, a 2012 second-round pick, asked to be traded last year, this after failing to record more than 13 snaps in a single game in 2016. The Eagles, however, denied his trade request – and gave him more playing time. Kendricks had 77 tackles in 2017 – more than double the career-low 32 he posted in 2016.
What changed over the last eight months or so?
“Honestly, then was then and now is now,” a thankful Kendricks said on Tiki and Tierney. “Circumstances were different. Everything was different. Sitting here today as a Super Bowl champ, it’s funny how everything works out. I think everything happens the way it happens for a reason. I’m a true believer in the universe and how it works.”
Kendricks had four tackles in Philly’s 41-33 win over New England in Super Bowl LII, which featured the most yards in NFL history (1,151).
“It was a crazy game, man,” Kendricks said. “It was back-to-back, it was a battle all the way through, and it was just a really good game, man. It was a really good game. Obviously that’s now what we wanted. We didn’t want a shootout. But you can expect that playing against the best. . . . As a defender, it’s not what you want, and as an offensive player, you don’t want it to be the other way around either. It causes for a good game. If I’m sitting here today as a fan or watching the Super Bowl rather than playing in it, I’m sitting here telling you, ‘Man, that was a really good game.’ It’s one to remember. It’s definitely a special, special moment.”
It was also a special moment for Doug Pederson, who played in the NFL for more than a decade, including a stint with the Eagles in 1999.
“He’s just a players’ coach, man,” Kendricks said. “He gets it. He gets it. He’s been there, he’s done that. It’s a lot easier to hear it coming from his mouth. It’s coming from a coach and a player’s standpoint, so it’s easier to trust in him. It’s easier to cope and to relate. I think that allows us to trust in everything that he’s saying. It allows us to fully commit in the way they we are. He’s been there, he’s done that, he knows what it’s like to be a player – it’s as simple as that.”
Tiki Barber also asked Kendricks about his younger brother, Eric, who plays linebacker for Minnesota. After the Eagles beat the Vikings in the NFC Championship, Eric wasn’t happy about it.
“I’m a competitor, man,” Eric said after the Vikings’ 38-7 loss. “I play this game to win. I don’t care if he (Mychal) is on the other team or not. I’m trying to win. I’m mad, yeah. I’m not happy for him.”
Kendricks laughed heartily, as did Barber, who knows what it’s like to have a brother in the NFL.
“I must say I know my brother and deep down he is very proud of me,” Kendricks said. “Just like he is of me, I’m very, very proud of him. He’s a true champion in his own (right). A Super Bowl doesn’t define a man.”