Avonte Maddox is in his third season with the Philadelphia Eagles since being drafted in the fourth round in 2017. He is in his first season as a full-time starter, though he has missed time with injury, including the Eagles’ last game on Sunday. He did not practice yesterday and it’s unknown if he will make it to the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers this weekend.
The former Pitt Panther has made something of a career for himself, though, and coming home to play against the Steelers would be a significant moment for him, to return to the stadium where he played his college ball, where he recorded eight interceptions, two touchdowns, three force fumbles, and seven sacks, along with 136 tackles and 34 passes defensed.
Whether or not he plays remains to be seen, but the Steelers will be very familiar with him if he is on the field, especially considering he has an NFC opponent, which head coach Mike Tomlin has repeatedly reminded this year means he doesn’t watch a lot of tape on them.
“I know him very well. I have a lot of respect for him”, Tomlin said of Maddox on Tuesday during his pre-game press conference. “He’s one of the guys you get an opportunity to get close to when you’re neighbors like we are here in Pittsburgh. I just always loved his competitive spirit. It was very evident in his play. He wore it on his sleeve, and that was an attractive component of his game for me. I’m not surprised that he’s having the success that he’s having in the NFL. He’s a tremendous competitor. He’s a football lover”.
I think we all know how much Tomlin values football players over athletes, and generally people who love football. He talks about it all the time, especially with regards to decisions in the NFL Draft and during free agency, because he wants to make sure he’s bringing in players with the right character and background.
Maddox has two years left on his rookie contract, so who knows what 2022 might hold if the Eagles allow him to hit unrestricted free agency? He would be the type of player the Steelers might express interest in—assuming the salary cap situation at the time would allow for it.
In his absence, the Eagles moved fourth-year veteran Jalen Mills to the outside at cornerback on an almost full-time basis. Previously, they had been moving him around quite a bit, spending a good amount of time both at free safety and in the slot and in the box in roughly equal measure.