In West Philadelphia, born and raised, Kevin Byard spent most of his days. Instead of shooting some b'ball outside of school, the Philly native was watching Brian Dawkins' highlight tapes on YouTube.
Now, the two-time All-Pro safety has the same locker that Dawkins did when he played for the Philadelphia Eagles. And in a few days, Byard will play on the same field as his idol.
"Big influence on me," Byard told reporters on Wednesday. "When I first started playing safety in high school, one of the first things I did was go on YouTube and look at his 'Weapon X' video."
Byard, who will wear No. 31, has the Tennessee Titans to thank for this union after the team traded him to the Eagles on Monday. In doing so, the Titans reunited the eight-year veteran with former teammate A.J. Brown, and Byard will join a defensive backfield with cornerbacks Darius Slay and James Bradberry.
That said, Byard still isn't sure how the Eagles' staff plans to deploy him on the field. After spending the first third of the season with the 2-4 Titans, Byard was not only dealt to a contender but one that pairs him with Reed Blankenship, another Middle Tennessee State safety.
"This team has a winning culture, great culture here," Byard said. "I’m just looking to add on to that. It definitely feels good to wake up 6-1 for sure.
"We’re about to find out. It’s exciting for me [to join a new team for the first time in his career]. It’s been an adjustment. It’s been a crazy, what, 48 hours. ... I’m excited. God works in mysterious ways, so I’m just trusting him right now."
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) October 24, 2023
While Byard is still looking for his first interception of this season, he comes to the Eagles with nine over the last two seasons and has never missed a game in his career.
The big question that remains for Byard and the Eagles is what exactly does the safety have to offer the team at this point in his career?
"You're about to find out," he said. "Of course, I feel that. This is my eighth season, but I'm feeling really good. Coming off a bye week, too, so definitely feeling fresh right now.
"It's all about what I do now I'm here. I've had a great career in Tennessee, but I'm in Philadelphia. I'm a Philadelphia Eagle now. And that's what it's more about moving forward, making plays to help this team win."