Darius Slay has been really good this year. There is finally a bona fide, #1, lockdown type of cornerback in the Eagles’ secondary.
Already he’s provided some positive individual moments, like the final play of Sunday’s win, when he went up and attacked the Hail Mary pass in the end zone, causing the ball to fall to the ground. He took a dirty low hit to the knee in the week three Bengals matchup and came back to finish out the game after initially leaving the field. Those are two sequences that exemplify what the guy is all about.
Ironically, he said Wednesday that he didn’t think the Eagles should even be playing right now, due to the pandemic, explaining it like this, via NBC 10:
“My true opinion, I felt like we shouldn’t even have (a season), just because of what was going on,” Slay said on a Zoom call with Eagles beat writers. “It’s a difficult time.”
Asked a moment later to confirm that he was saying he didn’t think there should be an NFL season, Slay said: “We shouldn’t have one. But it is what it is. We’ll go to work and get it done. If there’s a way we can play, I’ll go play.”
A little while after his interview, after seeing the reaction on social media to his comment, Slay returned to Zoom and said he actually meant he felt there shouldn’t have been a season before he learned of the protocols the NFL was putting in place.
“I was just basically saying when (COVID) first came out, we shouldn’t have a season,” he said. “They came up with a great game plan to have us in the building. Before then I was thinking to myself, ‘How are they going to do this? How are they going to find a way for us to not have this? How are they going to know who has it?’ So now I feel comfortable doing it because of the fact that I’m getting tested every day. Because I have kids so I had to make sure my kids and my wife are all OK.”
That’s a testament to the Eagles organization, which has taken COVID seriously and done a good job of keeping players and staff safe. The most recent positive test was Doug Pederson, prior to the start of the season, and he did his quarantine before rejoining his players. Ever since, there hasn’t been a COVID-related issue on the squad, while teams like the Titans and Patriots and Raiders deal with positive cases in their camps.
I’m sure a lot of players felt the same way Slay does, though maybe they weren’t vocal about it or weren’t asked about it in the media. Football was always going to be more difficult to administer than other sports, based on the sizes of squads and number of personnel surrounding the team. They can’t execute a bubble and are forced to travel a couple of times a month.
Regardless of how he feels, Slay is holding up his end of the bargain on the field of play.