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Phillips Crosses The Line In Rivalry

Posted Mar 15, 2013

New Eagles safety Kenny Phillips said the ball floated in the air so long it allowed him to think about whether he was going to try and intercept it or knock it down.

It was the final play of Super Bowl XLVI. Phillips knocked down Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's last-gasp pass into the end zone to seal the win for the team that plays 90 miles up the New Jersey Turnpike. It capped off Phillips' best season as a pro. He graded out as the third-best free safety in the NFL by Pro Football Focus registering 72 tackles, four interceptions and 11 pass knockdowns.

"That I'm capable of playing in this league. I was drafted in the first round. I think I proved that I'm that type of player, that caliber of player," Phillips said of his 2011 season. "I was basically, I don't want to say a role player, but I did whatever the team asked me. I was that guy. If they needed me to cover, I covered. If they needed me to play the third, I did whatever they wanted me to do. I was the ultimate team player. So I think I showed everything that year."

Phillips was asked to do it all because he's proven that he can do it all. The 6-2, 210-pound Phillips has great size and physical talent. Why did the Giants allow a division-rival like the Eagles to snatch up Phillips with a one-year deal in free agency?

Health has been the biggest question mark of Phillips' career. A left knee injury ended Phillips' 2009 season after just two games. Last year, Phillips missed nine games with right knee injuries.

"I’m 100 percent. It feels good, it feels good. Since the season ended, I’ve been rehabbing five days a week and continue to get strong," Phillips said. "I took my physical today and the doctors liked what they saw. If they didn’t, I wouldn’t be sitting here. Like I said, I’m 100 percent right now and I’m just ready to get back to work."

Phillips admitted it is weird to be playing for a team he used to despise.

"It's definitely weird," Phillips said. "But it's just time for a new start. I looked at the season they had last year, and I heard a lot of good things about you before I signed. And they're bringing in guys to make this team better, and I just want to be a part of it."

The Eagles have added two safeties including Phillips and two cornerbacks. The Eagles will not have either of their starting cornerbacks from last season. Phillips pointed to chemistry as the key to success in the secondary.

"The chemistry was the biggest thing. We can just do things without communicating," Phillips said. "Guys would come off their man and someone else would pick them up. We knew what each other was thinking."

Phillips gets a year to prove that he's healthy and go against his former team not once, but twice. Certainly, it could be a nice payoff for the Eagles.

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