Haason Reddick Has Written His Hollywood Script
“They gotta put this in a movie,” Haason Reddick said after the Eagles’ 31-7 victory over the 49ers on Sunday. “This is a script. I’m telling you, this is a script.”
Reddick stood in the Eagles’ cigar-smoke-filled locker room, knowing he was going to the Super Bowl. Reddick logged two sacks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery against the 49ers on Sunday. He was one of the driving forces behind Philadelphia’s dominant victory over the 49ers.
Haason Reddick was born in New Jersey and played college football at Temple University, about eight miles from Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. So Reddick’s three-year deal with the Eagles that he signed last spring was a homecoming for the outside linebacker.
Quite the homecoming it was. In his first season in Philadelphia, Reddick logged a career-high 16 sacks for the Eagles. In addition, Reddick forced five fumbles, recovered three, and helped the Eagles build a historically prolific pass rush that has fueled a Super Bowl run.
But it wasn’t always roses for Reddick.
If you told Reddick that he would have been a game-wrecking force in the NFC Championship game a few years ago, he might not have believed you.
After being taken by the Arizona Cardinals in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, Reddick struggled to get his footing in the NFL.
Reddick was the second-best outside linebacker in the 2017 draft class. Still, Arizona moved him to inside linebacker. In his first three seasons in Arizona, Reddick started just 20 of the 48 games he played. He totaled 7.5 sacks and 16 quarterback hits.
“I’m not disappointed,” Reddick told reporters when Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph moved Reddick to outside linebacker ahead of the 2020 season. “I don’t want to say disappointed. It’s frustrating to see how it all went down. I’ve always been level-headed, always thought, ‘What can I do better?’ Ultimately I’m trying to be a team guy, not pointing fingers at anybody. I want to learn from my mistakes and try and be better.”
In 2020, the move paid off. Reddick had a breakout season, recording 12.5 sacks, 16 quarterback hits, and six forced fumbles.
Unfortunately, the Cardinals had already declined the former first-round pick’s fifth-year option the offseason prior.
Reddick understood why the Cardinals declined his fifth-year option.
“Based off of what I had done in previous years, it called for them to make a smart business move,” Reddick said, “which was to not pick up my fifth-year option.”
Still, Reddick knew that he was destined to succeed in the NFL.
But Reddick knew that he could be the force that he was in 2020.
“I watched, I listened, I saw what people said, and I won’t forget. But, as you can see, I came out here this year and did what I had to do. And I bet you they ain’t saying it now.”
Even still, the Cardinals weren’t convinced. Reddick signed a one-year deal with the Panthers. The decision to sign with the Panthers reunited Reddick with former college coach Matt Rhule. Reddick started all 16 games for the Panthers in 2021, logging 11 sacks and 18 quarterback hits. Reddick forced two fumbles and was credited with 12 tackles for loss.
Even with the success of back-to-back 11-plus sack seasons in Arizona and Carolina, Reddick was looking for a new home again last offseason. The Panthers were one of the teams pursuing quarterback Deshaun Watson in a trade with the Texans, forcing Carolina to cut where they could if they landed Watson and had to doll out an extension.
Reddick went home to Philadelphia, signing a three-year contract worth $45 million. A steal for the Eagles, in hindsight. Reddick’s deal has him 17th in annual value at his position, per OTC.
Reddick’s NFL journey has come full circle.
When the Eagles land in Phoenix to begin preparations for the Super Bowl next week, Reddick will return to where his NFL career began and almost ended.
Reddick was a walk-on at Temple. He was redshirted and didn’t play until Week 4 in his redshirt freshman season. Nevertheless, Reddick worked his way up to a first-round pick in the NFL Draft. When Arizona moved him to inside linebacker, he struggled again. Still, Reddick continued to fight. His 2020 season earned him a prove-it-deal in Carolina. His reunion with Rhule in Carolina earned him a three-year deal with Philly.
“I went through the same type of stuff in college,” Reddick said. “I walked on and had to prove myself and prove that I deserved to be on the field. It was the same thing; people said it was a one-year thing. People didn’t want to take a shot on me, went to Carolina on a prove-it deal and did it again.
“Came back home, [shoot], did it again. You feel me?”
Reddick proved it alright. Reddick’s strip-sack of Brock Purdy knocked the 49ers quarterback out of the game and sealed the deal for the Eagles.
Now he returns to Arizona as an NFC Champion. Reddick is right about one thing. They could put this in a Hollywood script.