February 05, 2018

Corey Clement goes from undrafted question mark to Super Bowl hero

Eagles NFL
USATSI_10588322 (1).jpg John David Mercer/USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles running back Corey Clement catches a touchdown pass in front of New England Patriots linebacker Marquis Flowers during the third quarter in Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium.

MINNEAPOLIS — Corey Clement seemed mountainous still in his pads, under a grey Eagles’ Super Bowl champion T-shirt. The enormity of what he did, and the very, very important part he played in it was just catching up to the undrafted free agent whose knock coming out of Wisconsin was that he couldn’t catch the ball coming out of the backfield.

The Eagles’ 5-foot-10. 220-pound tailback out of Glassboro High School had the last laugh. All he did on the grandest stage of football, against one of the defensive gurus of all-time, New England Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick, was lead the Eagles’ potent offense with 100 yards on four catches, including a diving, third-quarter 22-yard catch between two defenders.

“I use it as motivation, it’s something that kept pushing me all year,” said Clement, who finished with 108 yards from scrimmage. “I was willing to do anything to make this team, and when my role increased, and the coaching staff began trusting me more and more, especially coach Duce [Staley], when you have belief like that believing in you, you go all-out all of the time.

“It’s the way I play anyway. But I used to think I was working hard. Then I came here. Coach Staley would be me on all of the time about a lot of different things. I became a better player because of it, and I can’t be more grateful to him and coach Pederson, and the Eagles for believing in me.

“You go through the doubts. You were a good player as a kid. Then in high school, then in college. It always seemed to be each level I had success. Then to not get drafted, you remember things like that. It humbles you. It makes you hungry, too. You have a team like this, with each of these guys believing in one another, even an undrafted rookie, you believe you can do anything. For these guys, I’d run through a wall.”

Clement was nothing short of amazing in Super Bowl LII. His diving 22-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter gave the Eagles a 29-19 lead. His 55-yard reception on a third-and-three at the Eagles’ 37 brought the ball to the New England eight. Four plays later, Trey Burton lobbed the pass to an open Nick Foles on a fourth-down trick play for a score — and 22-12 Eagles’ lead.

“We couldn’t wait to run that play [called the ‘Philly Special’],” Clement said. “That just shows how much faith Doug has in us, and in me to be a part of that play. This was a team, and even personally myself, that everyone counted out all season. I went undrafted and had something to prove. It was like this whole team played with a chip on our shoulders.

“Now we’re Super Bowl champions — and I get to do for my hometown team. You can’t dream this stuff up.”