Trent Cole had been sick with pneumonia for two months when he was drafted by the Eagles, in the fifth round, back in 2005, Cole recalled today. He reported for his first minicamp, the weekend after the draft, at 240 pounds.
A hundred and eight games and 68 sacks later, Cole sat behind the NovaCare podium and reflected on the "rough road" to his new four-year contract extension, which agent Rich Rosa said would pay Cole around $48 million, with a maximum of $53 million, depending on incentives, $15.5 million guaranteed. Rosa said Cole, third on the Eagles' all-time sack list behind Reggie White and Clyde Simmons, will be the NFL's third-highest-paid defensive end, at least until Mario Williams's expected signing with Buffalo is official.
Cole was the 146th player taken in the 2005 draft, and yet, he is the best defensive player the Eagles have drafted under Andy Reid. Today Cole said he didn't sense much interest from the Birds when he was coming out of Cincinnati; playing the Senior Bowl with pneumonia, then being so sick he couldn't work out at the NFL Scouting Combine probably didn't help. In fact, Cole feels it pushed him down at least a couple rounds. He recalled having been excused from combine interviews because he was so visibly ill as he tried to answer questions.
"It really hurt me. I went from 260, running a 4.5, to 235, 230. I was like, 'man, I'm not going to let this pneumonia overcome me,' and I got back after it," Cole said. "I came to the Eagles at 240 ... I came to (minicamp) here and I went all-out. I was hoping they was gonna keep me. There was great players in front of me, that I looked up to (like Hugh Douglas) when I was thinking about playing in the NFL. I came back (for training camp) at 270. Everything just skyrocketed from there."