Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ex-Eagles Are Flocking to the Desert for Buddy Ball

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ex-Eagles Are Flocking to the Desert for Buddy Ball

Article excerpt

Please don't take this personally. But Seth Joyner and Clyde Simmons say they needed to get out of Philadelphia.

They say they needed to leave an aging team that had lost its swagger and a lot of its talent. They needed to get away from Norman Braman, an owner who seemed, to them, to be more committed to making briefcases full of cash than winning football games. They needed to get away from fans who would anoint them as gods one minute and call them stinking bums the next. They needed to play football again in a place where playing football is like going to a big, raucous, goofy frat party.

They think they have found such a place in Phoenix, with their former and current coach, Buddy Ryan, and each is being paid nearly $15 million over the next five seasons to give it a try. But you miss the point if you think that their decision to sign free-agent contracts with the Arizona Cardinals was all about money - or even mostly about it.

Getting out of Philadelphia, they said in separate interviews last week, has helped them spice up their careers again. They said they were happy in Phoenix because they thought they could help the Cardinals become a really good football team. They did not feel that way about the Eagles.

"I felt like I was getting a little stagnant there," Simmons, a defensive end, said. "Things just weren't right. A lot of issues were up in the air. They (management) wanted us to be a Super Bowl team, but they didn't show any loyalty to us.

"I just felt that when I was playing in Philadelphia, at times, only the players and the coaches were really out to win. Well, some management, but I felt that players and coaches were the only ones who were trying to win ballgames there. When I was there, I felt all the management cared about was making money."

Joyner, a linebacker, said: "I had kind of become disillusioned. "Football had always been exciting and fun, and it was kind of leaving me. There were things that were going on in Philadelphia, with the organization, that I didn't agree with. It started taking the fun and the enjoyment out of what I'm doing.

"Change is needed. Change is definitely necessary. For the first time, I'm really excited going into a season. Before, I went into a season "hoping" we'd do well. Here, I'm going in "knowing" that if we stay healthy and improve rapidly, we'll do some good things."

Simmons and Joyner say they decided to leave Philadelphia because the chance to do good things - namely, turn quarterbacks into creamed corn - had dwindled dramatically.

With Reggie White in Green Bay, teams ganged up on Simmons, and his sack total dropped from 19 in 1992 to five last year. Because the Eagles' defensive line was so often manhandled, Joyner could no longer go on his little search-and-destroy missions. He finished last season with one interception and two sacks, compared with four interceptions and seven sacks in '92. …

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