WATCH: Former All-Pro WR Chad Johnson wishes he could have played in Philadelphia
Through the years, the Eagles have had the opportunity to snag several high-end wide receivers; either through the NFL Draft or in free agency. Among them is former Bengals All-Pro wideout Chad Johnson.
Entering the 2001 NFL Draft, the Eagles were in desperate need of a game-changing WR to pair with budding star quarterback Donovan McNabb. With this in mind, the organization decided to take Freddie Mitchell with the 25th overall selection. 11 picks later at 36th overall, Chad Johnson was selected by the Bengals.
Mitchell only played four years in the NFL, tallying 90 receptions for 1,263 yards and just five touchdowns. Johnson surpassed all of those marks by his second season. He finished his career with 766 catches, 11,059 yards, and 67 touchdowns. It wasn’t the first time the Eagles took the wrong receiver in the draft, and it certainly wouldn’t be the last.
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Over the past few years, Chad Johnson has helped mentor Eagles wideout DeVonta Smith and the two have become friends in the process. On Saturday, Johnson was in Allentown for Smith’s second-annual celebrity softball game and had the opportunity to speak with some local reporters.
The former All-Pro told reporters he wish he could have played in Philadelphia during his career.
Chad Johnson: “I wished I would have been able to play here”
“I don’t know how to explain it,” Chad Johnson said Saturday. “I like how they call people dickheads and shit. There is no fanbase like this. They fuckin’ beat up Santa. Who does that? I fell in love with the city, hearing the stories in the couple of months training with Boots. I wished I would have been able to play here.”
It’s wild to me that every athlete doesn’t share the same point of view as Johnson does. Why wouldn’t you want to play for the most psychotic fanbase in the NFL? If you’re afraid of the ridicule, then obviously this isn’t the city for you. If you embrace it and use it as motivation – like most great athletes do – then you’ll thrive in Philadelphia.
Johnson would have been a fan favorite here. In an alternate universe, he and McNabb could’ve gone down as one of the best QB/WR tandems in NFL history.