Malcolm Jenkins Says Goodbye to Philly, Says He Never Wanted to Leave

Former Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins - man, that still sounds weird - penned a heartfelt goodbye to the City of Philadelphia in The Player's Tribune on Saturday morning. 

It's very well done and worth the read. 

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But we just want to highlight the one passage from the long goodbye letter that seemed to stand out the most: 

I sincerely never wanted to leave Philadelphia.

Let's tackle that second part first. Forget everything else you've heard, and just trust me on this: Money has NEVER been my motivator. For me, it's always been LEGACY that I value most. … 

And it's no secret that I wanted a new deal - no secret that I felt like I deserved one. Not so I could be the highest-paid player at my position (even though I regard myself as being of that caliber), but so I could cement my legacy in Philadelphia forever. I wanted a deal that showed me that my sacrifices to the game have been recognized. I'm no idiot. I know money is tied to timing, market value, age, the draft, and so on. But legacy? That's tied to the player, and to the name on the back of his jersey. 

Unfortunately, for whatever reason, I wasn't able to ensure that my name would end up on the back of an Eagles jersey this year. But hopefully the legacy that I leave behind will last in the most important way: over time. And maybe then, maybe one day in the future when I've hung up my cleats, I can be in the company of the Eagles greats. It would be a dream come true.  

While Jenkins, 32, doesn't get into the specific reasons of why he thinks the Eagles didn't bring him back, as my colleague Reuben Frank wrote earlier this week, it certainly doesn't seem like it was all about money. 

The thought was that Jenkins was going to ask to be among the top-paid safeties in the entire league and demand a salary of $12-14 million per season. But the deal he agreed to with New Orleans is reportedly worth $32 million over four years. If you failed math in grade school, that's $8 million per season and not much more than he was owed if the Eagles picked up his option for 2020. 

It seems like age (Jenkins will turn 33 in December) had plenty to do with it. And my other colleague John Clark wrote about the idea that the Eagles wanted the 2020 version of the squad to truly become Carson Wentz's team.

Whatever the reasons, Jenkins is gone and heading back to where his NFL career began in New Orleans, something he's excited about. (The Saints are scheduled to play in Philadelphia this season, by the way.) 

Jenkins thanks his teammates, coaches and fans for his six years in Philly. And he signed off with a touching sentiment. 

"Lastly, to y'all Eagles fans: I hope in your hearts that you feel I've done right by you. Thanks for the memories - from one fighter to a whole city of 'em."

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