November 01, 2019
Former Eagles Pro Bowl defensive lineman Connor Barwin retired from football earlier this month, but he'll be on a football field Sunday when the Eagles face the Bears.
Barwin was tapped to serve as the team's honorary captain for the crucial NFC matchup, and ahead of the game he wrote a letter to Eagles fans on the team's website explaining why he's chosen to live in Philadelphia now that his football career is over.
It's a pretty neat move, especially when Barwin — who played for four different teams during his 10-year career — goes to lengths to explain what made Philly stand out:
"During my career, I also played for the Texans, Rams, and Giants, but what sets Eagles fans apart is I think they care the most. It's known how passionate they are, but I think the big difference is when you play in Philly and you play hard and leave it all on the line, you become part of the family. And the family is the city and the fans who are rooting for the Eagles. They care when things are going well and they're there for you when things aren't going well.
"My wife, Laura, and our 1-year-old son, West, have chosen to become a part of that family and make Philadelphia our home. I think it's the greatest sports town in the country. I've got tons of friends who I played with that live here, and people outside of the football world that live here. When I played, we laid down roots here. And after I left, I made a couple stops, but we always knew this would be home."
That's awesome, and the whole thing is worth your time.
Barwin was a fan favorite during most of his time with the Eagles, both for his relatively effective pass rushing (he had 14.5 sacks in 2014!) and his off-the-field contributions to the city. His Make the World Better Foundation is dedicated to repairing and improving public spaces like parks and playgrounds around Philadelphia, and organizes a yearly fundraising concert featuring indie musicians, which is attended by local movers and shakers.
That Barwin will be planting roots in Philadelphia long-term isn't exactly surprising: his foundation didn't exactly stop its Philly-based work while he team-hopped after the Eagles let him go in 2016, and he just recently announced a collaboration between his foundation and Philly's Yards Brewing Company. We all sort of saw this coming.
But it's still extremely cool to see Barwin choose to go on the record and say that he loves Philadelphia, and is here to stay.