By South Philly Review Intern Joseph Tressa
I never dreamed of the day where I would have the opportunity to sit in on a press conference done by an athlete. On Monday, Aug. 4, I got that special opportunity by being allowed to watch the Eagles practice and the chance to attend the press conferences of linebacker DeMeco Ryans and quarterback Nick Foles.
It was a surreal experience to say the least. Sitting around media members from such affiliates as Comcast Sportsnet, 6 ABC and Channel 69 News gave me my first real look at the world of sports reporting. Just to be in the same room as some of these people gave me the chills.
While walking around the playing field, I also caught glimpses of a few 94 WIP radio hosts. Howard and Spike Eskin, along with Michael Barkann, were in attendance to take in the practice. Howard even said “Hello” to me (not the greatest person in the world to get a “hello” from, but I can now say that I interacted with the man to some degree). I was also inches away from 6 ABC’s sports anchor, Jamie Apody. Going from seeing her almost every day on the news to being in her presence was another humbling experience.
That’s enough with the media personalities. The fact that two actual NFL players were standing about 20 feet from where I was sitting in the press conference tent topped everything else from that day (well, maybe getting a free Rita’s water ice was the best). But, seriously, having Nick Foles looking in my direction and answering questions asked by the media was an awesome experience. The man who threw seven touchdowns in a single game, the man who led the Eagles to the playoffs with his spectacular play was just feet away from me.
Now, for the actual press conference. One of the big topics addressed by the media members was NBC’s Cris Collinsworth stating the Eagles were Super Bowl contenders.
“It’s too far away right now to say, since we have many things to work on,” Ryans said of Collinsworth’s estimation.
“I already knew those expectations were there the minute that I first stepped on the field here,” Foles noted.
Ryans was also pleased with how hard some of his teammates have been playing during the team’s training camp.
“Some guys are naturally gifted, and you can see that during practice,” he said.
With many rookie receivers on the roster, Foles was asked if his chemistry with these players is improving.
“Me and the young guys are getting better with our chemistry,” he said. “It’s not necessarily a hard experience. It’s fun for me because I like improving chemistry with all my receivers.”
With the first Eagles preseason game being this Friday against the Chicago Bears, Foles noted how important this time is for rookies and young players.
“The preseason is very beneficial for the young guys. It gives them a chance to experience an actual game and feel what it’s like to be out there,” he said.
With the recent news of Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton getting a $115 million extension, Foles was asked his opinion on the subject.
“Andy’s a great player and I admire the way he plays, but I don’t worry about things like that,” he said. “My job is to go on the field and make it work.”
Foles will look to improve on an impressive 2013 season, where he went 9-2 as a starter.
The day that I took in at the NovaCare complex will one that I will surely not forget for a while. Being that close to the players and media members gave me a true sense of what it means to be a sports journalist. Thanks to my editor Bill Gelman and others who made this trip possible.