There’s no doubt the college football fans are a passionate bunch. And the Eagles incoming rookies — all of whom reported to training camp Monday as the 2017 summer schedule officially kicked off — have played in front of passionate fans before.
But in the pressure-cooker that is Philadelphia, the media spotlight can take it's toll on talented players (like it did with Nelson Agholor last season). And the fans are not shy to voice their support or displeasure.
“They’re very passionate,” running back Donnell Pumphrey said, who spent his break at home in Southern California with his daughter. “On social media you can see that they’re very passionate. I see posts every day. It’s nice to have those type of fans behind you.”
Philadelphians will famously support a team like no other when it’s doing well, and give it hell like no other when it’s down. They demand success and won’t stand for lack of effort or production. And even though the Birds have yet to play a game with
Pumphrey and the team’s other rookies on the field yet, they are starting to recognize who they play for.
“Philly fans are kind of crazier than West Virginia fans, it doesn’t matter what you say,” Rasul Douglas, a rookie cornerback, said Monday. “I can say ‘I am at my grandma’s house’ they’ll be like ‘why aren’t you working out?’ I can’t get a day off? They want this city to be great, they want a lot from us and we have to be able to do it.”
The Eagles have never won a Super Bowl — a simple fact that likely looms in the back of minds of Eagles fans all across the Deleware Valley and South Jersey. And in the Eagles’ players too.
“We’ve been in the hotel a lot,” rookie wide receiver Mack Hollins said. “We haven’t really ventured out but from what I’ve seen we have some diehard fans. I think there’s nothing better than fans who get mad at you when you make mistakes, they wouldn’t be saying stuff if they didn’t care. They want to win and win the Super Bowl. I am all about it.”
The Eagles No. 1 overall pick Derek Barnett is an even-keeled kind of guy and one who keeps his true thoughts and emotions close to his chest. His mentality when it comes to dealing with Philly fan pressure may be the smartest of all.
“I don’t feel any pressure for myself but I have very high expectations for myself,” the highly-skilled pass-rusher said. “I am the biggest critic for myself. I have high expectations and I am very excited for the season.”