PHILADELPHIA | Vince Papale hasn’t stepped into the uniform since 1978, but his unlikely story, told in the 2006 hit movie Invincible, continues to inspire. The self-described Eagles forever member continues to support the team that made him famous.
When someone’s life ends up on the big screen, embodied by actor Mark Wahlberg, that person’s story is larger than life.
Papale, who played football for fun as a catcher in a semi-professional league in Philadelphia, came to prominence for the Eagles in 1976, when head coach Dick Vermeil hosted an open camp. He managed against all odds to carve out a place for himself for three seasons, even though he had never played in the university ranks.
Randomly bumped into four hours before the Conference Finals game, posing with fans near the stadium, Papale, who now lives in Florida, reiterated his unconditional love for the Eagles.
“I still come to see as many matches as possible. When there are important events, the Eagles are nice enough to involve me. It allows me to meet people, sign autographs and become a fan again, ”he told the Journal.
” It’s always like that. I’ve just arrived, my promotional activities haven’t started yet and I think I’ve reached my 100th photo with supporters,” he noted, bursting out laughing.
Marked for life
With the Eagles, Papale distinguished himself on special teams, he who had even been named captain of this facet of the game by his peers. He had become, at 30, the oldest rookie player in history to play in the NFL. He played 41 games before a shoulder injury forced him into retirement in 1979.
“I will be attached to this team all my life. The Eagles and I are inseparable. I was a season ticket holder while I was a student. I dreamed of being drafted by the Eagles.
“Even if one day the Eagles tried to get rid of me, it’s impossible! With time and the fact that people everywhere have taken notice of my history with the film, it seems that I have become irreplaceable here,” added the 76-year-old.
A unique relationship
In the eyes of the one who was nicknamed Rocky, the relationship between the city of Philadelphia and its Eagles is incomparable.
“It’s in the DNA of this organization to get involved in its community. When you sign up to play here, you understand that becoming an Eagle is also becoming an active member of the Philadelphia community,” said the 2001 colon cancer survivor who has been giving motivational talks ever since.
Raised to the rank of legend in his native Pennsylvania, do not speak badly to Papale of the supporters of the Eagles.
“The fans here aren’t as mean as people say they are. This famous Santa Claus that everyone still talks about [NDLR : incident survenu en 1968], he deserved to be booed and snowballed. He was completely drunk, he was harassing the cheerleaders and people couldn’t blame him, ”he said.
There you go, the real story is finally out in the open…
NFL A LETTER
Two Quebecers close to the goal
Quebec offensive linemen Matthew Bergeron and Sidy Sow continue to shine in the eye of NFL scouts. Bergeron, a blocker from Victoriaville who distinguished himself at Syracuse University, finds himself in Alabama this week for the Senior Bowl. This is the biggest all-star game for university graduates ahead of the top NFL. Sow, a guard from Bromont, has also done well this season with the University of Eastern Michigan. He looked good at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in Pasadena this week, Calif. He even received an invitation to the NFL evaluation camp (Combine), which will be held in Indianapolis from February 27 to March 6. Bergeron will also be there, and this is the first time that two Quebecers will be at the event.
Hamlin alive and well
Twisted people started claiming last week that Bills safety Damar Hamlin had died as a result of the COVID-19 vaccine and that it was more of a stunt double that was presented to fans at the Bills game in last Sunday. Over the weekend, Hamlin addressed supporters in a video. “I am grateful to everyone for the support. I know it’s not enough to be grateful. This is just the beginning of the impact I wanted to have on the world and I want to continue to achieve great things. I couldn’t do anything without you and I can’t wait to bring you with me on this adventure,” he said.
Brady wouldn’t go to Miami
Tom Brady’s season with the Buccaneers has barely ended and speculation is already rife. Many would send the legendary 45-year-old quarterback to Miami if he decided not to retire. According to ESPN informant Adam Schefter, the Dolphins would ultimately not be interested in Brady’s services. The team would like to continue to bet on the young Tua Tagovailoa, despite the three concussions suffered this season. Stay tuned, because this is just the beginning of a long waltz of rumors in the coming weeks regarding Brady’s future.