PHILADELPHIA – At 34 and coming off a torn Achilles’ Brandon Graham let the fans in on a little secret via the Eagles’ web series “Unscripted.”
“They don’t know the grind,” the always effusive Graham said. “They just see the finished product.”
Ready to make them pay, @brandongraham55!
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) June 14, 2022
Playing NFL football at a high level is quite the commitment and it goes far beyond team-sanctioned preparation, something Graham’s defensive linemate, Fletcher Cox, discussed last week when “popping in” for on-field OTAs.
“That’s just a sign of respect and a sign of being professional,” Cox said. “… You always want to come in. You want the organization to have the trust in you that you’re working out, that you’re in shape, that you’re showing up in shape and not just sitting at home on the couch.
“It’s just stuff I’ve been doing the last few years. I’m always going to pop in, show my face, work hard, get around the guys again, and obviously now getting ready for training camp.””
Isaac Seumalo, like Graham, is attempting to come back from a serious injury (surgery for a Lisfranc foot fracture) and noted downtime isn’t in the cards for him as he attempts to make the shift from left guard to RG while holding off the ascending Jack Driscoll.
“I’m not really planning on taking any breaks these next six, seven weeks,” said Seumalo. “I want to be as good if not better than what I was before. That’s always been my goal since October. So my goal is to be ready by training camp.””
Seumalo and tight end Dallas Goedert are among the players planning to stick close to the Deleware Valley and prepare for training camp at Lane Johnson’s “Bro Barn” in South Jersey.
For Goedert, though, he will also be making a quick trip to Nashville for the second straight year to attend Tight End University at Vanderbilt, the brainchild of star TEs Travis Kelce, George Kittle and the now-retired Greg Olsen, a trio with 13 Pro Bowl nods between them.
From June 22-24 many of the league’s top tight ends will invade Music City to help each other get better, the position’s answer to things like Von Miller’s pass-rushing camp and the Offensive Line Masterminds program that Johnson is such a big part of.
“Really excited for that,” Goedert said last week. “It was a great turnout last year. I was able to learn a lot. Excited to go back and hear from some of the best at the position and take away what I can get from them.”
While Kelce, Kittle, and Olsen are the main events — and good ones at that — when it comes to offering information to others, TE University is quickly turning into a collaborative endeavor where everyone is encouraged to offer up any tricks of the trade.
As perhaps the most complete TE in the NFL that isn’t named Kittle, Goedert has got plenty to offer others.
“When we get out on the field, everybody is giving their two cents, everybody is telling their coaching points, what they’re thinking on different things,” Goedert said. “It’s just a great place to go. There are a lot of knowledgeable people there. Everybody can view the game very differently and be very good in their own way.
“It’s just cool to hear how other people look at stuff, how other people game plan, how other people do different things.”
Last year more than 50 TEs showed up to Tight End U. To put that in perspective the Eagles currently have seven players at the position on their 90-man offseason roster, and if you extrapolate that out to the rest of the league there are currently well over 200 TEs trying to gain a foothold in the NFL so there is some exclusivity to the TEU attendance list.
Along with Kelce, Kittle, and Goedert, among those who’ve indicated they will be attending this year are Atlanta’s Kyle Pitts, Las Vegas’ Darren Waller, Buffalo’s Dawson Knox, Detroit’s T.J. Hockenson, Miami’s Mike Gesicki, the New York Jets’ Tyler Conklin and Dallas’ Dalton Schultz.
“There’s just so much to learn,” Goedert said. “I learned a lot, took a lot away from it [in 2021], and am really excited to go back.”
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for JAKIB Sports. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen