Haason Reddick’s first season as a Philadelphia Eagle couldn’t have gone much better. Reddick, a South Jersey native who spent his college years as a standout for Temple, decided to join the Eagles as a free agent in the lead-up to the 2022 campaign and set a career-best mark with 16 sacks. A force off the edge and a second-team All-Pro selection, Reddick was an integral part in Philadelphia mowing through the NFC and making it to the Super Bowl.
Of course, the Eagles got about as close as you can to winning the biggest game of the year without actually hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. A controversial defensive holding call with just under two minutes remaining begat a Harrison Butker field goal that gave the Kansas City Chiefs a 38-35 win, and while Reddick is proud of what his team accomplished — “everybody wants to get back,” he says — he understands that the team can’t rely on that as they move into 2023.
“You do have to take an approach of, what happened last year is what happened last year, and mainly that last year was a great year statistically, record-wise, in any way imaginable for the Eagles, but we have to let go of that because it is a new year and we have to go out there and work again,” Reddick told Uproxx Sports over Zoom. “We got to go do it all over again. So what happened last year, it does not matter.”
Recently, we sat down with Reddick to discuss some charity work he’s doing with Campbell’s, the Eagles’ offseason, why the team keeps turning to the University of Georgia to load up on defensive talent, and more.
What do you have going on with Campbell’s?
So, recently, I’ve partnered with Campbell’s and their Chunky brand for their Chunky Sacks Hunger program. And we’re trying to donate food across America. For this year, the goal is to donate 2 million meals across the nation, for each Chunky (microwavable) bowl that is purchased, we’re going to donate a meal. So, I’m extremely happy about that, extremely happy and blessed to be partnered with the brand and to be doing some good work across the nation.
Why was this an important thing for you to get on board with?
For me, man, I’m big on giving back to the community. I do a bunch of local work. This brand, Campbell’s Chunky, they do a lot of great work in the community, as well. I know from recent things that we’ve partnered on — not only that, they’re headquartered in my hometown of Camden, New Jersey, which means so much to me. And now we get the partner and try to tackle a food insecurity initiative across the whole nation, man. So, like I said, we’re partnered to do some great work.
So let’s talk football. Just generally, how’s the offseason been for you?
Offseason has been very well, it was very well for me. A lot of fun, but a lot of hard work, as well. But it’s been really good to me.
You guys were an incredible team last year, won the NFC, and then just ran out of time at the end of the Super Bowl. Getting that close, has that motivated you and the team this offseason? Or has the approach been, we’re going to flush that, we’re going to move on, we’re going to focus on this year?
A little bit of both, right? When you’ve come so close to hitting a goal like that, winning a Super Bowl, man, it’s hard to get to the Super Bowl. But when you’re talking about winning the Super Bowl, and you’re that close, you lose by three points, of course the goal is to get back, everybody wants to get back. But you do have to take an approach of, what happened last year is what happened last year, and mainly that last year was a great year statistically, record-wise, in any way imaginable for the Eagles, but we have to let go of that because it is a new year and we have to go out there and work again. We got to go do it all over again. So what happened last year, it does not matter.
One thing from last year is that you don’t often see guys go to a new place and immediately have maybe the best season of their career. What was it about being in Philly that got the best out of you?
So much, man. The people I was surrounded by — players, coaches, family, friends, that probably played the biggest part of it. I’m from here, I’m from the area, I’m a local guy. There’s nothing, when it comes to football and playing for the Philadelphia Eagles, there’s nothing more important than putting on that uniform and representing my city, a place that I grew up in, born and raised. So, for me, those were the things that all helped in making last season as great as it was for me.
Yeah, I’m guessing when you were five years old playing in a backyard, seven years old playing Pop Warner, you were dreaming about one day playing for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Man, was I. That’s why when the opportunity came, it was just like, I couldn’t believe it almost. Because a lot of guys don’t even get to make it to the NFL. For the few that do get to make it, they don’t even get to play for their hometown team, if their hometown has a team. So, for me to be able to do both of those things within my career, man, it’s amazing. It’s a blessing.
The Eagles have such a good roster that it feels like practice, there just has to be an iron sharpens iron thing going on. That’s especially true with you going up against that offensive line. How does going up against Lane Johnson, Jordan Mailata, Jason Kelce, all those dudes make you and the rest of the defensive line better?
When you talk about those guys, when you talk about Lane, Kelce, Jordan, you’re talking about some guys that are great at their position, if not the best at their position, right? Especially when you’re talking about Lane and Kelce. So, you get to go in there, I get to work against Lane every day, we talk. I ask Lane, hey, man, what did you see here? What did I give away here that I could do better so that I can get this off on somebody else or that I can be better? And he’ll do the same thing. So, like you said, it’s really iron sharpens iron, I look at it as I’m going against some of the best o-linemen. By the time I get to game time, I’m not nervous, I have no fear, because I’ve already gone against the best in practice each and every day.
Any fun stories of a back-and-forth that you might have had with those dudes after a really competitive rep in practice?
Man, we can get to jawing. But the crazy thing about it is that everybody is so focused on getting better, sometimes something will happen in a one-on-one, he’ll come over and be like, hey, what was that right there? Or I even go to Lane, or Lane will come to me and say, hey, and I think this has worked really good. If you do this, I like that move right there. I think you just need to tweak it and do this to get the offensive lineman to do that, move this way, so that way, you can complete your move. While we do have fun in practice, the best memories I have is getting to talk to these guys and ways of, how can we make each other better? How can we get better together?
The Eagles defense has been loading up on these dudes from Georgia recently. And I don’t need to give UGA any more recruiting material, but are there any common traits that Jordan, Jalen, Nolan, Nick, Nakobe, Kelee, all those dudes share that make them, you know, you get in, you can immediately say “Oh, I see why we’re going to that program to get defensive talent”?
Most definitely, man. They come in with the mindset of learning. All of those guys are on the defensive side of the ball, so I get to see them day in and day out. And one thing that I noticed amongst all of them was just their willingness to learn, their willingness to ask questions so that way they can do their part. When you have a championship organization like Philadelphia, you want to go out and get championship guys. And immediately, I could tell that Georgia was a championship program just based off of the four guys that we have on the team.
Nolan fascinates me the most, because even in college, you could tell his attitude and the way he’s wired, he seems like the kind of rookie that every vet hopes they get once in their career.
Oh, man, most definitely. He’s a bright kid and I love his approach to football, he just wants to go out there and hit things. You need that mentality, especially when you’re on the defensive side of the ball. So, to see how he’s been growing over training camp, and how he’s progressed, I’m just glad I get to be a part of that. I’m glad I get to see him, I’m glad I get to help him, because I’m hoping that he can have a very successful career and I’m trying to do my part and making sure that he does.
I think it’s pretty well documented Jordan Mailata is the best singer on the Eagles. Who is the second best singer on the Eagles?
Second-best singer? Man, to no surprise, I would have to say it’s somewhere between Jordan Davis … I’m gonna say Jordan Davis, Kelce, and Lane. And the reason why I say that is because, I don’t know if you know, but they did the Christmas album last year. And they’re gonna do another one this year. But Jordan Mailata and Jordan Davis, they both have like a duet on the album. So it’s crazy. All big fellas, but bring great, amazing singing voices.