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December 06, 2018

Trey Burton ‘didn’t feel comfortable’ throwing pass on Bears’ Philly Special play

Chicago's coach Matt Nagy installed the formation before his team played the New England Patriots

NFL Eagles
Trey Burton with the Chicago Bears Timothy T. Ludwig/USA Today Sports Images

Trey Burton is two for two when his team runs the Philly Special.

In case you missed one of the wilder decisions of this year’s NFL season, Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy called up Philly Special (remember that?) from the goal line on the final play of regulation with his team down a touchdown.

It worked, and the Bears forced overtime against the Eagles’ favorite punching bag, the Giants:

Incredibly, the Giants still managed to pull the win out, but Nagy’s play call was the talk of the league afterwards.

Of course Nagy called Philly Special, everyone pointed out: Former Eagles tight end and the original Philly Special thrower, Trey Burton, is a Chicago Bear now!

This time around, Burton played the role of Corey Clement as the running back who laterals to the thrower. At the time, it seemed Nagy drew it up that way to throw opposing defenses off the scent.

But according to Bears reporters Thursday, Burton said he was supposed to be the thrower again — until he couldn’t bring himself to reprise his role:

In case that tweet doesn’t load, here’s what Burton had to say:

“We installed the play and when they put it on the board I got crazy anxiety. I was kind of freaking out a bit because a ton of unbelievable memories come to mind from the Super Bowl. And we were playing the Patriots at the time, we wanted to run it then. I just remember going out not really saying much, going out to practice and trying to do it. I just couldn’t. Physically, there was some type of block, wasn’t letting me do it. I told Nagy, ‘Hey coach, I’m having crazy anxiety,’ I couldn’t sleep that night thinking about it. There were so many really good memories but I’m not there anymore, I’m on a different team doing something different. I just didn’t feel comfortable. Thankfully he said no big deal I appreciate you letting me know, and [Tarik Cohen] was able to do it.”

There’s so much to enjoy here.

First, Nagy – who hails from Lancaster County, and used to work for the Eagles – deciding to install Philly Special the week of his team’s matchup with the Patriots is absolutely insane. It's the kind of thing a first-year coach does when he wants to show everyone up. His team is currently leading its division, and his Philly Special worked even if his team lost the game. Nagy should feel good.

Then there’s the fact that Burton couldn’t bring himself to copy the most memorable moment in Eagles franchise history now that he’s on another team. Huge props go to Burton for acknowledging something like that. 

It’s been a great last couple years for athletes speaking up about the anxieties they face, from DeMar DeRozan and Kevin Love in the NBA, to the Eagles’ Brandon Brooks

From the time I spent talking to, and writing about, Burton during his seasons with the Eagles, his candor here is no surprise.

And, of course, shoutout to Burton for having such fond memories of his time in Philadelphia. He’ll no doubt be remembered by Eagles fans forever.


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