Justin Pugh grew up in Holland, PA right outside of Philadelphia. Initially, he loved to play hockey and was a huge Flyers fan. However, a 6-5, 307 pound frame doesn’t really work well on skates, so Pugh shifted his talents to the grid iron. He played high school football at Council Rock High School and then three years at Syracuse University. The Eagles have the fourth pick in the draft, and while selecting Pugh, a life-long Eagles and Philly sports fan, with the number four pick is out of the question, a late-first or second round selection of the versatile offensive lineman isn’t all that unlikely. For Pugh, playing for the Eagles would be a dream come true.
“Ah, that’d be unreal man. I mean I worked out with them [the Eagles] three times, they liked me a lot. They pick at four, obviously I’m not going to go at four. If they don’t go tackle with that fourth pick, then you know early second round, if I’m still around maybe they could trade up and get me that late first round, or hopefully I can fall to them at 36. The coaches are great, it’s a new era in Philadelphia. They’ve never really had a local kid, a guy from right in the area. I mean, we have LeSean McCoy, but Harrisburg is a little bit of a trek from here. So that’d be awesome man. I would love it, I would eat it up.”
Pugh even said he wouldn’t mind falling from the late first round, to the early second round, if it meant playing for his hometown team.
“I just want an opportunity, that’s all you can ask for. The way it’s all scaled out now, guys aren’t making as much money as they used too. So, late first round, early second round will have the same type of money.”
Pugh, who worked out for the Eagles three times and was able to meet Chip Kelly, Howie Roseman, and the rest of the Eagles coaching staff and front office, thinks the Eagles have a legitimate shot at making the playoffs right away.
“It’s a fresh start. Philadelphia is going to have a fresh start in football. It’s going to be an exciting time for these next couple of years. This Eagles team is going to be a team like, you know how Indianapolis went from a very bad team last year to a very good team this year, a playoff team. I think the Eagles are going to do something like that this year.”
Although it’s not common, occasionally athletes get to play for their hometown team. In most of those cases, just because an athlete is playing for his hometown city, doesn’t necessarily mean that athlete grew up a fan of that team. In fact, that is hardly the case.
However, not only are the Eagles Pugh’s hometown team, but Pugh grew up as an actual fan of the Eagles, and really a Philadelphia sports fan in general. He bled green like we did. He went through the Donovan and Big Red era, exactly as we did. He suffered through all of those NFC Championship, and one Super Bowl, loss, exactly as we did. He carries the emotions and passion of being an Eagles fan, just like we do, except Pugh is much bigger, stronger, faster, and might actually get to play for the team he loves. Now that’s a rarity.