A New Jersey native who walked on at Temple as a running back and safety and left as an All-AAC defensive end, Haason Reddick was selected with the 13th pick of the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals and spent four years in the desert before taking his talents to Carolina. Reddick racked up 11.5 sacks, 12 tackles for loss and 18 quarterback hits for the Panthers in 2021, but was not re-signed. So, he returned to the area where he played his high school and collegiate football and signed with the Philadelphia Eagles.
The impact of the 28-year-old edge rusher’s homecoming was felt immediately as he led an Eagle defense that totaled a league-leading 70 sacks with 16 of his own last season. Reddick, who is teaming up with Campbell’s to help donate more than two million meals via the Chunky Sacks Hunger campaign, was a driving force behind the Eagles making it to Super Bowl LVII in Arizona, and he has every intention of propelling Philadelphia to Las Vegas for Super Bowl LVIII in February. He knows it won’t be easy.
“We gotta do it all over again. What happened last year doesn’t matter anymore. Just because we made it last year does not mean we’re going to make it this year,” Reddick tells InsideHook. “We have to come in day in and day out and put the work in again. As long as we keep the same mentality and continue to come in and work, we’ll be just fine and end up being where we want to be.”
Here’s the rest of what Reddick had to say about football, his teammates and Philly cheesesteak ahead of the Eagles beginning their journey back to Super Sunday against the Patriots in New England.
InsideHook: Did you treat this offseason any differently after making it to the Super Bowl?
Haason Reddick: Not really. I took the time to take some vacations and get away to clear my mind and take care of my body. Most guys like to get some time away to spend with their families before it’s time to start working out again and getting ready for OTAs. I like taking some time away so when it’s time to get back to football, I can be fresh and focused on what now matters most.
IH: What’s it been like getting ready for the season with your new defensive coordinator Sean Desai?
HR: It’s been good, honestly. He has come in and been really, really great. He’s been helping us with learning the scheme and we’re doing some things differently. We have a lot of guys coming back who were on the team last year, so he’s not trying to change too much. He knows that we have chemistry and understands the style of ball that we play here, so he wants to make sure he continues that.
IH: How critical is it for your unit to be aggressive and use the attacking style of defense that you play?
HR: It’s very important. It is our brand and it has been the brand of the Philadelphia defense for years before we even got here. It’s extremely important that we continue that style because we’re just keeping up with tradition. We’re not changing anything. We’re not trying to do anything new. We’re just trying to be that same defense that the Philly fans know and love. When you sign here and become a Philadelphia Eagle, you know there is a certain style and brand that’s played here. The Eagles have an identity and style of ball.
IH: Have you set any goals for yourself or the defense as a whole this season?
HR: To be better than I was last year. As hard as that may be, I want to be better and more impactful than I was last year. As far as the defense, we just want to continue to be dominant. When we come up on your schedule and you know you have to play the Philadelphia Eagles, we want you to say, “Damn, we got a tough one this week.” That’s all we want. We want to be dominant like we were last year.
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IH: What has it been like having a front-row seat to see Jalen Hurts develop into a superstar?
HR: It’s been amazing. As young of a veteran as he is, Jalen’s approach and how he takes everything is just crazy. You would think he’d been playing in the league for 10 or 12 years with the way he approaches the game. From the work that he puts in, to the way that he commands the huddle, to how he commands the team when we break it up at the end of the practice, he just talks like he has been here for so long even though he hasn’t.
IH: How did you establish yourself as a leader on the team in such a short amount of time?
HR: From my past success, I came in and guys saw the success I had and they took a liking to it. Other than that, I would say I’m a humble guy. I’m a guy that’s easy to approach. I make it my job to connect with guys on the team and try to bring along everybody as best as I can. We go bowling and like to go get meals together and enjoy some time over some food to talk, laugh and relax before game day.
IH: Do those meals ever involve Philly cheesteaks?
HR: Man, I love Philly cheesesteaks. And my favorite place is Max’s, but you really can’t go wrong in this city. Some people have their top three places to go, but everybody does an amazing job. I do American cheese. I’m not a cheese whiz or provolone guy. I also do ketchup, mayo and grilled onions. That’s about it. Nothing else. Not too many toppings.