There have been plenty of hard goodbyes for Eagles fans over the last couple years: Losing Shady McCoy hurt. Losing DJAX in his prime hurt. Losing McNabb after years of having him in the saddle to see him flounder with the ‘Skins was…. oddly vindicating.
Today Eagles fans have another emotional blow: The team is dropping 30-year-old DE Connor Barwin, freeing up $7mil in cap room to rebuild. Clearly Jeff Lurie is already putting the plan in place, signing Torrey Smith for a three-year, $15mil contract earlier today.
Losing Barwin in the back half of his career is just business, but, for Philadelphians, that hurts. In addition to being a generally chill dude (…note his Phish shirt in this ESPN profile a few years back), Connor Barwin was more than just an Eagle — He tapped into the very lifeblood of Philadelphia, biking around town and devoting countless hours to civic projects like the Waterloo Playground and the city’s bike share program. #98 was clearly driven by a higher calling than just a financially lucrative NFL career.
He said goodbye to Philadelphia in the classiest way possible on Instagram:
Thank you Philadelphia from the bottom of my heart for welcoming me and for being the amazing city you are. Laura and I want to thank Jeffrey Lurie, the entire Eagles organization, and all the fans for their support. It has been an honor and a privilege to play for this historic franchise. The Make The World Better Foundation, will continue it’s work to revitalize parks in the city. Our current projects at Smith Playground and Waterloo Playground are moving forward and very exciting. I hope to see many of you at our concert this year. I have learned from and cherish every experience I have had in the great city of Philadelphia and every snap I played as an Eagle. From the Lurie’s, to my coaches, teammates, mtwb partners, and fellow septa riders thank you! Go Philly, Go Eagles . . . hope to see you in the playoffs!
The outpouring of love from his team mates was immediate. via 700 Level:
Happy trails, Connor. Like Iverson was forever a Sixer after leaving town and everyone on ’08 Phillies forever a Phillie after parting ways, you’ll go down in Philly sports lore as a dude who is forever an Eagle.