Tue. Oct 27th, 2020

Mistrust. Guilt. Rejection. What it’s like to have…

6 min read
Mistrust. Guilt. Rejection. What it's like to have...

PHILADELPHIA — Not even a week had passed since his release from the Philadelphia Eagles and there was veteran cornerback Orlando Scandrick, going hard after his former team on national television.

Appearing on FS1 in late October, he took aim at everything Eagles — from locker room culture to general manager Howie Roseman to team leader and fellow defensive back Malcolm Jenkins, whom he charged with selfish play.

“To know now that that’s kind of what was in your locker room, it feels good to know that it’s not here,” Jenkins said in response and referencing to Scandrick, a free agent who played for the Dallas Cowboys from 2008 to 2017. “For us to move on as a team, we can’t have a m—–f—– like that in the room.”

It was the latest example of the often disastrous results when a player moves from one side of the Philly-Dallas rivalry to the other — a feud that will be renewed Sunday when the Eagles and Cowboys tangle for the NFC East title belt at 4:25 p.m. ET (Fox).

“I never felt like I was actually an Eagle,” Scandrick told ESPN this week. “I never felt really comfortable.”

Uneasiness. Mistrust. Guilt. Rejection. These are some of the side effects that can come with an attempted crossover. And it flows both ways.

“When I signed [with the Cowboys], it was weird, man,” said cornerback Nolan Carroll, a free agent who played for Dallas in 2017 following three seasons in Philadelphia. “I just felt, being in the locker room with the guys I was with in Philly and creating that bond, I felt almost sort of like I was cheating on them.”

“The guys were cool, but it was still one of those, ‘He was on the enemy’s side,'” Carroll continued. “So they viewed me still like that, and I think the coaching staff viewed me the same way. I had to try and go above and beyond to prove that, ‘Hey, I don’t play in Philly anymore. Don’t see me as the guy wearing the Eagles uniform and helmet. View me as a Cowboys player with a star on my helmet.’

“I remember the same thing with Miles Austin when he came in from Dallas and came to Philly [in 2015]. You’re used to seeing him in one jersey and now he’s my teammate, and I still just view him as a Dallas Cowboy. It’s just so ingrained in your mind to dislike your opponent because so much is on the line.”

The trust took time to be earned.

“I’m not giving [the Eagles] secrets; I’m not telling them what’s going on in the locker room,” ” Carroll explained. “I had to really get that point across to the other guys to have them feel more comfortable with me and to trust me out there on the field.”

The biggest bust of a union in recent memory was when free-agent running back DeMarco Murray, the reigning rushing champion in 2014, signed a five-year, $42 million contract with the Eagles in March 2015 after receiving a less lucrative offer to stay in Dallas. His rushing yards plummeted from 1,845 yards to 702 under Eagles coach Chip Kelly, whose system fit Murray just as poorly as the Philly culture.

“From everything I heard, I think once he went there, it never felt right and I think he wanted to go back [to Dallas],” Scandrick said of Murray. “And for me, I asked to be released and to leave, and once I did that, I kind of wanted to go back.

“I was raised there [with the Cowboys], I was drafted there and I went there such a young person. In life, you make mistakes and you think the grass is greener, and it’s not always greener. I still have so many friends there from the front office; I still have a great relationship with the Joneses [Jerry and Stephen]. You make irrational decisions in life at times, and that’s part of living. You learn from it. The Eagles, the Redskins, those things never really happened in my mind. It was basically 10 years in Dallas and a year in Kansas City.”

A handful of players have made the switch successfully. After a falling out with the Eagles, wide receiver Terrell Owens took up with the Cowboys in 2006 and continued on his Pro Football Hall of Fame path. Mike Ditka was dealt from Philadelphia to Dallas in 1969 — a move that proved to be a godsend.


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