22 Days Until Kickoff
17 August 2019 Eagles News
With 22 days until kickoff, we continue our countdown with a fan favorite, Duce Staley. Duce was drafted by the Eagles in the 3rd round of the 1997 NFL draft with the 71st pick. Duce sat behind Ricky Watters in his rookie year, only ammassing 27 yards on 9 attempts.
Once Ricky Watters departed after the 1997 season, it was time for Duce to step up and take the reins as the starter. Duce flourished in his first season as a starter, putting up his first 1000 yard season with a total 1065 yards. The team however, struggled mightily going 3-13 which lead to the firing of head coach Ray Rhodes.
The Eagles brought in a guy named Andy Reid to lead the team, and his west coast offense ultimately changed this franchise.Staley was the focal point of the offense when Reid came in, leading the team in rushing his first year with 1273 rushing yards, also racking up 432 receiving. Duce quickly became a fan favorite and paved the way for this offense.
Duce ultimately suffered a broken foot in the 1999 season, which sidelined him for the majority of the season. The Eagles made the playoffs for the first time in 3 seasons, losing in the divisional round after going 11-5, their best record in 8 seasons.
Duce’s time with the Eagles came to an end after the 2003 season as the Eagles had a star in the making named Brian Westbrook ready to take over. Duce signed a 5 year, $14 million dollar deal with the Steelers in 2004. Duce won a Super Bowl with the Steelers in 2005, and ultimately retired as an Eagle in 2006.
Duce was not finished with the Eagles after retirement, not by a long shot. The Eagles brought Duce in to be a special teams coach in 2011, then transitioning to the running backs coach in 2013, where he still is in the present day.
Duce is a fan favorite and has put his stamp on the franchise. He helped lead this team to a Super Bowl in 2017, doing a terrific job rotating a strong running back room all season. It is only a matter of time until Duce gets his shot an offensive coordinator, or even a head coaching job somewhere in the NFL.
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