On Tuesday the Philadelphia Eagles declined Malcolm Jenkins’ option that would have kept him on the team for the 2020 season.
The loss of Jenkins will leave a hole not only in the Eagles secondary but in the hearts of Eagles fans. Over his six-year tenure with the Eagles, Jenkins showed week in and week out his dedication to the organization and the city of Philadelphia both on and off the field.
In his first season with the Eagles, Jenkins proved why he was signed over other free-agent safeties, including Jarius Byrd and T.J. Ward. Jenkins racked up a total of 80 tackles on the season and set a career-high in interceptions with three.
In 2015, Jenkins’ production increased and in turn made himself one of the best safeties in the game. Even during a season that was filled with headaches on offense, defense and the coaching staff, Jenkins set a career-high in tackles with 109. He also made one of, if not the greatest play of his Eagles career.
In a week 13 game against the New England Patriots, Jenkins intercepted a Tom Brady pass at the goal line and returned it 99 yards for a touchdown and helped defeat the Patriots in Foxborough. At that moment, Jenkins showed he was a guy that the Eagles had to build around.
In the offseason following the 2015 season Jenkins inked a five-year contract extension that kept him in midnight green.
Over the next four seasons, Jenkins wore the captain patch on his jersey, if his leadership was not already clear. Jenkins became the heart and soul of the Eagles. He combined for 326 tackles, six interceptions, 33 passes defended and eight forced fumbles from 2016-2019.
What capped off Jenkins’ time on the field with the Eagles was his contributions that helped the Eagles win Super Bowl 52 in 2017.
After the Eagles won an emotional game against the Los Angeles Rams, which included Carson Wentz suffering a torn ACL, Jenkins delivered a speech to the team that showed his dedication to bring a championship to Philadelphia.
“We said, we all we got, we all we need. Believe that (expletive),” Jenkins said. “It don’t gotta be pretty, we just need a W. That’s the mentality from here on out, man. Let’s go. I’m proud of ya’ll boys.”
In a piece saying farewell to the Eagles published on Saturday in the Players Tribune, Jenkins talked about how emotional he was after the Super Bowl victory because of how much he knew it meant to the city of Philadelphia and Eagles fans everywhere. Jenkins became one with Philadelphia.
“It felt like my transformation was complete: I was Philly, and Philly was me,” Jenkins said in the Players Tribune.
Along with his play on the field, Jenkins contributed to the community off the field in many ways. One of which was through his foundation, The Malcolm Jenkins Foundation, which intends to help serve youth in communities across the nation.
Jenkins’ time in Philadelphia will always be appreciated and honored. He filled a void both at the safety position and as a team leader, something the Eagles missed since the departure of Brian Dawkins.
In his piece to the Players Tribune, Jenkins asks the question to the city of Philadelphia, “can we still be friends?“
For a man who dedicated so much of himself both on and off the field for the Eagles and the city, the answer to that question will always be yes.
Featured Image: AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo