From Cardinals to Super Bowl: ‘It’s been a journey’ for Haason Reddick
PHOENIX — Haason Reddick, the one that got away.
Misused for most of his Arizona Cardinals tenure, the pass rusher is now vying for a Super Bowl title in the same state he headed to as a first-round draft pick in 2017.
He’s even practicing in the same facility he called home for the first four seasons of his career.
It’s definitely a full-circle moment for the Philadelphia Eagles edge rusher, who takes on the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII in the same stadium he spent most of his NFL career in up to this point.
“When I came back, I did quite some reminiscing,” Reddick said during opening night of Super Bowl LVII availability Monday. “I soaked it all in, just thinking about how my career started and how I ended up here at the end of the day. It’s been a journey, ups and downs — a lot of them — but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
“Everything happens for a reason and I believe that. Look at me now with my hometown team getting ready to play for a Super Bowl.”
In his four years as a Cardinal, Arizona failed at putting Reddick in the position to thrive, moving him from the outside to off-ball. Tinkering was at an all-time high when it came down to the linebacker.
It really wasn’t until former Cardinals outside linebacker Chandler Jones went down with a season-ending biceps injury in 2020 that Reddick was finally given a starting job at outside linebacker thanks to Arizona having no other choice.
Haason Reddick wouldn't change his experience with the Cardinals for anything.
He's back in Arizona and playing to win Super Bowl LVII for his hometown team. pic.twitter.com/lwCYBDmI2c
— Arizona Sports (@AZSports) February 7, 2023
With Jones sidelined, Reddick chewed up 787 snaps on the outside, up from 137 from the year prior and 127 in 2018, per Pro Football Focus.
The result? A then-career high 12.5 sacks, 15 tackles for loss and 16 QB hits. Reddick had finally found his home. Before his move back to the outside, the linebacker had recorded just 7.5 sacks and 17 tackles for loss in his first three seasons as a pro.
Working off the edge was a huge boost to Reddick’s game. It allowed him to be reactionary without overthink things.
But while Reddick turned heads in the desert in Year 4, 2020 marked the final season as Cardinal for the outside linebacker, who proceeded to sign with the Carolina Panthers for a year before ending up with the Eagles on a three-year deal. Not only was Reddick closer to family — having grown up in New Jersey and going to college at Temple — there was absolutely no question when it came to where he lined up.
Being utilized in the right spot has certainly paid off big for Reddick, who is coming off a 16-sack, 26-QB hit effort this past regular season with Philadelphia, both career marks. He finished second in the NFL behind only San Francisco 49ers DE Nick Bosa (18.5) in sacks and has racked up 3.5 across two postseason matchups. Reddick also led the NFL in forced fumbles with five.
From being considered a potential bust in the Valley not all that long ago to being an impromptu tour guide in the desert for his team that is a win away from hoisting the Lombardi Trophy, it has been a wild NFL ride for Reddick.
It’s all worked out in the end.
“I have no ill feelings. None of that,” Reddick said of his former team. “I’m still playing football, I still get to do what I love. I’m in a different place and I’m balling, so I have no ill feelings towards them. As far as changes, it’s evident that they got some things going on.”
“At the end of the day, it’s one of those things where business is business,” the linebacker added. “They made a business decision at the end of the day. I understand it. I feel no certain type of way about it, especially being happy with where I’m at now.”