A rare opportunity for Eagles rookie QB Jamie Newman originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
The COVID pandemic has affected everybody differently, and for quarterback Jamie Newman, it meant he was stripped of his final year of college football.
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Newman spent three years at Wake Forest and had a promising year as the starter in 2019, completing 61 percent of his passes with 26 TDs, 11 INTs, 240 passing yards and 268 yards of offense per game.
Wake was ranked in the top 20 early in the season, finished 8-5, played in a bowl game and averaged 32 points per game.
Newman graduated from Wake and committed to Georgia for a post-grad year to get more experience and raise his pro stock.
Then COVID hit.
And he hasn’t played football since.
“After I graduated from Wake Forest, I wanted to take my grad year and try to go to a pro-style offense,” he said. “Unfortunately, when COVID hit, it hit my family, it hit my community a little bit harder than others, I would say. It was just at the time it was a tough decision to make, a lot of variables, but I just went with what was best for me, what was best for my family and what was best for my future.”
That meant opting out and returning home to his family in Graham, N.C., between Greensboro and Durham.
So when he hit the practice field for rookie camp at the NovaCare Complex on Friday afternoon, it was his first time on a football field since Wake lost to Michigan State in the 2019 Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium.
Newman hasn’t played football in a year and a half, but the Eagles made him a priority undrafted free agent. He’s the only QB in rookie camp and as of now the only quarterback on the roster behind Jalen Hurts and Joe Flacco.
It’s a tremendous opportunity for the 23-year-old North Carolina native.
“Philly was the first one to reach out to me and I felt like it was a perfect fit,” he said Friday. “I’m just blessed, honestly. I’ve got two guys who’ve won at very high levels. Jalen being a national champion, Joe Flacco being a Super Bowl winner. I just want to have the opportunity to learn from those guys and day-by-day get better as a quarterback and get better as a professional.”
Newman certainly looks the part at 6-foot-3, 235 pounds. But he is fighting tremendous odds. Undrafted rookie quarterbacks just don’t make NFL rosters. The last one to make the Eagles’ roster out of camp as a true rookie was Baylor’s Brad Goebel in 1991.
But Newman isn’t thinking beyond his next practice and his next rep.
“I’m just excited to be back in football,” he said. “Just being in the full realm of it. Just being in that locker room, the camaraderie you get, that energy you get from the guys, the time you spend connecting.”
Newman is clearly a developmental player at this point, most likely headed for the practice squad if he has a decent summer.
But the Eagles do seem high on him.
“Jamie is impressive,” Nick Sirianni said. “He's got great stature. He's a big man. As we watch tape on him, too, he's hard to bring down. He's a really good athlete. He's really sharp in the classroom. You can see why he was successful at Wake Forest when he was there. He’s got qualities that you want to be able to develop, and so (a) good first day for Jamie.”
And an awful lot to learn.
“Definitely just mental,” he said. “Learning more about ball. There’s always more ball you can learn as a quarterback. Especially me, coming from an RPO-based, vertical-read-based offense, there’s so many things that I can learn just from being in this system, being in a full practice. They’re all things I can learn from and grow gradually and that’s what I’m trying to do every day.”