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October 18, 2018

Safety Blitz with Malcolm Jenkins: How the leader of the Eagles defense wound up in the fashion industry

Eagles safety blitz

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Malcolm Jenkins is a two-time Super Bowl champion and veteran NFL safety. Each week this season he'll sit down with PhillyVoice's Joe Santoliquito to bring you Safety Blitz.

Malcolm Jenkins used to be a casual dresser. 

The two-time Super Bowl champion and Eagles’ Pro Bowl safety wore pretty much what any other college student/athlete wore when he was at Ohio State. In fact, Jenkins’ first suit was the very one he wore to the 2009 NFL Draft, when he was taken in the first round by the New Orleans Saints.

Since then, Jenkins has upped his “threads game” to not only be one of the more fashionable Eagles, but considered among the best dressers in the NFL. It prompted Jenkins, 30, to even open his own clothing store, Damari Savile, at 709 Walnut Street in Philadelphia.

“I always liked wearing suits and dressing up, but when I wore that first suit at the NFL Draft, I liked it,” Jenkins recalled. “I was like any other college kid. You put on what’s clean and what you can find. But I liked wearing that custom suit, which really changed my mind about custom-tailored suits. I started wearing suits when I was with the Saints. A lot of teams have dress codes on the road, with coats and ties and looking nice.

“Every Saturday in the league it’s like a mini-fashion show in the locker rooms [planning our Sunday outfits]. I started to find different ways to stand out. It’s when I started to care about the way I looked. Over the years, it led me getting into the fashion industry. Now, I’m not always about wearing a suit everywhere I go. I can go sport coat or blazer, overcoat and jeans. I’m pretty versatile. I would say that if there is anything that carries over from the football field about me is my versatility. Just like my game, when it comes to my fashion, I like versatile things and wear suits and clothes different ways.”

Jenkins said he would be open to the challenge this season of suiting anyone in his store, from a rumpled 5-foot-5 meatball-shaped sportswriter, to a tall, lean, wise-cracking, stick-figure drawing Eagles beat reporter.

“Bring it on, I can make clothes fit on anybody,” Jenkins said. “They’re made to measure. The suit would fit like a glove, even if you’re shaped like a meatball.”

This week, the Eagles face the challenge of stopping Cam Newton and the visiting Carolina Panthers. The Eagles are coming off their most impressive win this season, the 34-13 victory over the New York Giants on Oct. 11. It was the only game this season in which Jenkins played exclusively safety.

“Everything worked in that game, where the defense played well on third down and in the red zone, and we got caused turnovers, and offensively, we converted on third downs, played well in the red zone and didn’t turn the ball over,” Jenkins said. “We wanted to take Odell Beckham out of the game and we accomplished that.

“It’s one win and we’ll try to replicate the good we did against the Giants for the rest of the season. And I know I hear people saying ‘We’re back, we’re back,’ but I think people still need to understand, we’re a different team than the team that won the Super Bowl. We’re also 3-3. I’m an old-school believer that you are what your record says you are, and we’re still 3-3. We’re not the Super Bowl team. We are a 3-3 team, that’s who we are right now.

“You look at the Panthers’ offense, they have guys who do different things. Cam Newton is the only quarterback in the league who runs a quarterback power. He’s a more dangerous runner than some of the backs that they have. He also throws well, too, which causes a schematic problem of what you need to stop, Cam running the ball or throwing it. You really can’t stop both.”

Christian McCaffrey poses a lot of match-up problems, too. He can swing out of the backfield and catch the ball, and possesses the kind of explosive speed to dart through holes in the defensive line.

“If you’re in base personnel, do you try to match up a linebacker with him in space, or do you assign a DB to take care of him, then you’re undersized with a DB in the box?” Jenkins said. “That’s an issue that we’ll have to figure out. They do a lot of jet motion, speed options, zone-read, power-stretch plays, orbit motion, when the receivers motion into the backfield.

“I only played safety against the Giants, which is weird for me. It’s the first time I think in the last two seasons that I played exclusively safety.

“We have an opportunity to win at home, and it’s something that we put an emphasis on. That’s a priority.”

Follow Malcolm Jenkins on Twitter @MalcolmJenkins and Facebook at Malcolmjenkinsnfl

Visit Malcolm's clothing store, Damari Savile: Born in the City of Brotherly Love, Damari Savile provides made to order suiting for those looking for a more stylish fit for their wardrobe. Located at 709 Walnut Street.

More Safety Blitz: Week 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

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