Thursday, November 26, 2015

Eagles Are a Family Tradition

Rookie linebacker Mychal Kendricks grew up hearing his father's stories about Dick Vermeil. Mychal's dad, Marv Kendricks, was a free agent running back in the Birds' 1976 training camp.

Eagles Are a Family Tradition

"There was a lot of Eagles stuff around" the Kendricks home in Fresno, Mychal Kendricks said. (Alex Brandon/AP)
"There was a lot of Eagles stuff around" the Kendricks home in Fresno, Mychal Kendricks said. (Alex Brandon/AP)

In the Eagles' 1976 media guide, among the free agents vying for jobs, listed along with Vince Papale and Johnnie Walton, there's a running back from UCLA named Marv Kendricks.

Thirty-six years later, the current rookie camp features Marv's son, second-round linebacker Mychal Kendricks. Unlike his father, a veteran of the CFL and WFL who eventually got cut by the Eagles that summer, Mychal figures to hang around. In fact, he seems to be the early favorite to start at strongside linebacker.

"He talked about Dick Vermeil all the time. Actually, they still keep in contact," Mychal said after the Sunday morning session of rookie camp at NovaCare. "I think his career ended because of a fractured neck, or something like that. We talk about it, but we don't really get into detail."

Mychal, who says he knew from the time he was 5 he wanted to play pro football, recalls "there was a lot of Eagles stuff around" the Kendricks home in Fresno. "He had this Eagles jacket -- the classic Eagle, bright green silk," Kendricks said.

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Mychal was always a linebacker growing up, he said, although he chose the number of his NFL hero, Denver running back Terrell Davis, No. 30. Kendricks wore that number at Cal, and his brother Eric currently wears it at UCLA.

Marv Kendricks, whose brief media guide entry notes that he was "all-academic Pac-8," ended up as a counselor at Fresno City College. Mychal's mother, Yvonne Thagon, is a pharmacy technician. Mychal is the fifth of seven kids.

It's hard to make a lot of judgments about his game from noncontact rookie drills, but Kendricks seems to move well, is a blocky, muscular 5-11, 239 -- maybe a little chestier than many Eagles linebackers -- and he projects confidence and maturity. Readers of yesterday's entry will recall his response to questions about whether he would have trouble covering taller tight ends -- Kendrcks said he wasn't worried about it, and didn't think we should be.

Kendricks played in all 51 possible games during his Cal career and was the Pac 12 Defensive Player of the Year last season.

"I remember when I got the call. It didn't really hit me until I saw Andrew Luck got the offensive player of the year," Kendricks said. "I was like, 'damn, that's pretty big right there.' The award is named after Pat Tillman. You know the story behind that. It's just a great honor."

 Rookie camp continues with a session this afternoon and one more Monday morning.

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