An All-Pro middle linebacker and the voice synonymous with Eagles football for the past 40 years are set to be enshrined among the organization’s all-time greats.
Jeremiah Trotter and Merrill Reese will be inducted into the Eagles Hall of Fame during halftime of the Eagles' Monday night showdown with the Packers at the Linc.
Trotter and Resse will be the 42nd and 43rd members of the organization to receive the honor.
“This is the greatest honor that I’ve ever received,” Reese said. “It’s amazing to be honored for something that you do, that you love so much, that’s really such a pleasure. There’s nothing I’d rather do than broadcast an Eagles football game. Being inducted into the Eagles Hall of Fame is the ultimate. There’s nothing that I would consider a greater honor.”
“To be inducted into the Eagles' Hall with all the other greats means a lot to me,” Trotter said. “I’m excited for my family. Excited for the fans. We got the greatest fans in the National Football League. That’s one of the things I miss the most. Coming out of the tunnel and seeing the sea of green.”
Trotter had three separate stints in Philadelphia that spanned eight of the 10 years he played in the National Football League. A third-round pick of the Eagles out of Stephen F. Austin University back in 1998, Trotter was an All-Pro by his third season in the league when he totaled 100 tackles during the 2000 campaign.
After signing with the Redskins in 2002, Trotter returned to Philadelphia in 2004 and began his second stint with the Eagles just as his first one ended - with two consecutive trips to the Pro Bowl. In his first season back in midnight green, the Axe Man anchored a defense that helped the Eagles reach the Super Bowl in 2004.
Trotter ranks eighth on the franchise’s all-time total tackle list with 564 stops. Trotter will be the fourth linebacker to be inducted into the Eagles Hall of Fame, joining Chuck Bednarik, Maxie Baughan and Bill Bergey.
“On a personal goal, this is up there,” Trotter said of the induction. “Just shows all the hard work you put in and people recognize it and reward you for it. I’m excited to see all my ex-teammates because I talked to those guys this summer and told them they’re just as big a part of this as I am. Because without them, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do.”
More than his production, it was the passion that Trotter played the game with that left a lasting impression on the people who watched him lead the Eagles’ defense for the better part of his eight seasons in Philadelphia.
“He meant everything," Reese said of his fellow inductee. "Jeremiah Trotter was a great linebacker. As you can look at Jeremiah and realize he had great size, more size than most of the linebackers today, and he was a powerful man. He played the game with a passion. … He wanted to drive himself to be the best, to win, to do everything he could to help this team on the field and off the field. He was a great leader, he was an emotional player, and he was also a tremendously sound linebacker. … He is really somebody who's made it because, No. 1, his ability, but that great heart and that great desire to be great.”
For as durable as Trotter was during his playing career, Reese has been even more persistent in the broadcast booth. Now in his 40th season as the radio voice of the Eagles, Reese hasn’t missed out on calling a single game.
The 74-year-old broadcaster has called countless Eagles games since the start of the 1977 season, but said his favorite was 2010's “Miracle at the Meadowlands II," which saw the Eagles wipe away a 31-10 fourth-quarter deficit and beat the Giants on a walk-off punt return by DeSean Jackson.
Reese’s enthusiasm and attention to detail that were beaming through the radio during the Eagles’ improbable comeback against the Giants are qualities that are present with all of his calls, regardless of the magnitude or quality of game.
"You can listen to Merrill on the radio and he'll make you feel like you're at the game,” Trotter said. “Attention to detail. Whenever I'm traveling and I listen to the game on the radio, I love listening to Merrill. His voice, man, that's all I know. He's the only guy I know as the voice of the Eagles. From the day I got here, every highlight you see, you'll hear his voice and it's distinct. And when he speaks, you know exactly who it is. When I found out I was going in with Merrill, I was ecstatic.”
When Reese comes down from the broadcast booth to the field during halftime Monday night, he’ll become the first broadcaster to be inducted into the Eagles Hall of Fame.
And while he’s acknowledging that moment will be special, he’s treating this game just like any other.
“I don’t think about it,” Reese said of the halftime ceremony. “I think about what I have to do to get ready to do a broadcast with the Green Bay Packers tomorrow with all the numbers, the formations and all that I have to do to get ready to be a good broadcaster tomorrow night. And when I go down on the field at halftime, it will be a great moment. But whatever that feeling is, I’ll feel it then. I don’t think about it now.”