PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Josh McCown was talking to reporters when Alshon Jeffery stepped up on a chair, hit record on his phone and asked the newest Philadelphia Eagles quarterback a question.
“How’s No. 17 as a basketball player?” Jeffery inquired.
McCown, who played a lot of hoops with Jeffery when they were teammates on the Chicago Bears, gave his best evaluation.
“He’s not bad. He’s got some skills, but I can lock him down if it was one-on-one,” McCown replied, adding he chose to wear No. 18 on the Eagles so he could stand next to Jeffery in team pictures.
The 40-year-old McCown was coaching his son’s high school football team and preparing for a new career as an NFL analyst on ESPN when the Eagles called Friday with an offer he couldn’t turn down. He signed a $2 million, one-year deal that could be worth up to $5.4 million.
McCown provides insurance behind Carson Wentz, who has finished the past two seasons on the sideline because of injuries. The Eagles already lost two quarterbacks in the first two preseason games. Nate Sudfeld broke his left wrist and is expected to return in September. Cody Kessler left Thursday night’s game with a head injury. Rookie Clayton Thorson was the only healthy quarterback on the roster behind Wentz before McCown ended his brief retirement.
“It was good for me to spend a great amount of time with my family and go through an offseason where I wasn’t traveling and having to go back and forth from a city doing OTAs and stuff like that, so that was beneficial for me,” McCown said Sunday. “There were only a certain number of teams I think I would be interested in and that met the criteria I talked about, and this was certainly one of them. It was cool when this opportunity came up and we started to talk about it as a family. They were excited, and they were like, ‘Man, you gotta go.'”
McCown was 23-53 as a starter, including 5-11 with the New York Jets over the past two seasons. He has completed 60.2% of his passes, has thrown 98 touchdowns and 82 interceptions and has a 79.7 passer rating.
McCown’s best season came in 2013 with Chicago. He was 3-2 as a starter and completed 66.5% of his passes for 1,829 yards, 13 TDs and only one pick with a passer rating of 109. Jeffery also had his best season that year, catching 89 passes for 1,421 yards and seven TDs.
Jeffery said McCown was the first player to call him after the Bears drafted him and the two formed a bond off the field on the basketball court.
“Great player, great human being, great all-around person,” Jeffery said. “Josh can hoop, too.”
Nick Foles backed up Wentz the past two years and led the Eagles to four playoff wins, including the franchise’s first Super Bowl title following the 2017 season. But the 2018 Super Bowl MVP left for Jacksonville in free agency.
McCown is entering his 18th season with his 11th team. Eagles coach Doug Pederson isn’t ready to name his backup and his No. 3 quarterback yet. Sudfeld has thrown 25 passes in the regular season but showed promise. Kessler was 2-10 as a starter for Cleveland and Jacksonville over the past three seasons.
“Listen, he’s a veteran quarterback,” Pederson said. “He’s been around. He’s seen a lot. He’s a guy that just can add a lot of knowledge and depth in that room. Obviously, he played this position and started a ton of games in this league. Excited to get him going and get him up to speed.”
Asked if the team considered Colin Kaepernick for the backup role, Pederson said: “We consider everybody and do what’s best for the Eagles.”
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