In today's "Five Minutes with Roob," Reuben Frank chats with Eagles safety Chris Maragos:
Roob: Welcome to Camp Central and Five Minutes with Roob! We're going to spend five minutes with Eagles safety and special teams demon Chris Maragos today. How are ya doing, Chris?
Maragos: Roob, it's good to be here with you, my man.
Roob: It's great to be with you. And I was thinking, this is your fourth year. You went to two high schools, two colleges, you were with a couple of NFL teams before Philly. This is the longest you've ever been anywhere.
Maragos: It's good, man. It's a little bit of a change of pace but I like it. Let's stick to it for eight more years.
Roob: That sounds good. Why not? You can play special teams when you're 40.
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Maragos: Why not?
Roob: So you started out as a wide receiver. You were a pretty good one from everything I've read. Tell me about Chris Maragos the wide receiver. Tell me how dangerous you were. Do you compare yourself to DeSean?
Maragos: Well, I got kicked out now. I'm not allowed to play wide receiver, actually. A bunch of guys on the team mess with me because they'll watch me catch and they'll be like, ‘You actually played receiver?' I swear I was actually really good. I was a shifty slot guy, a guy who's real quick, a change-of-pace guy. I would go across the middle, things like that, slants, get extra yards. Actually, probably one of my best attributes was yards after the catch. But it was fun, man, I had fun doing it. Offense and defense are so different, especially when you play at a high level, it's completely different, but I had fun doing it.
Roob: Now, you started out college at Western Michigan and you became really good friends with Greg Jennings there. Tell me about him and the influence he had on you.
Maragos: Really, honestly, Greg laid the foundation for me as an athlete. I can remember one game when he had 200 yards or something and you know, I always prided myself on being there early and doing things. And I walk into our meeting room and there's Greg Jennings. He's got his pen out and he's watching game film and his whole paper's full of notes. I mean this guy just had 250 yards and he's the first one in there taking notes and he really showed me what it looked like to be a professional at the collegiate level and having the mindset of always doing the little things. No matter what you do, there's always room for improvement. He was huge for my progression at an early age in college.
Roob: Everybody needs a guy like that certainly in their career. Now, at what point in your career did you convert from wide receiver to safety?
Maragos: That was at the University of Wisconsin. So I was a walk-on at Western Michigan. I had an opportunity to walk on at Wisconsin. That's every kid's dream growing up in the state and (playing for Wisconsin head coach) Bret Bielema. One day I was playing offense and he was one of the only guys that knew I was on the team. The quarterback threw an interception, I was playing receiver and I tracked the guy from down the field and jumped on the back and stripped the ball out. And coach Bielema kind of looked at me and he goes, ‘You're gonna play safety.' And that was it. After that point when he saw that and it worked out.
Roob: When did you start to embrace special teams? Is it something you've always liked doing?
Maragos: Yeah, in college for sure, largely in part because I knew to start out at the University of Wisconsin that was going to be where I had to make my calling card and really show that I could be an athlete and play. So I really took it seriously there and even when I was a starter at Wisconsin, my fifth year I played a lot of special teams - kickoffs, everything. That was something that carried over and then when I got to the NFL, I was behind guys like Dashon Goldson and Kam Chancellor and I was looking around, thinking, ‘I don't think I'm going to be playing safety anytime soon, so let's get good at special teams.' My whole career I've just been looking to find a way to help the team win and just be a role player the best I can. Whether that's handing out water, teaching a guy, playing safety, special teams, whatever it might be, breaking down film. Whatever I can do to help the team win, that's really what I want to do and that's what special teams is for me.
Roob: You guys won a Super Bowl in Seattle during your stay there. What was that experience like? Maybe not the football side, but just knowing for that moment, that year that you guys were the best team in the world.
Maragos: It's a pretty cool feeling, largely in part because I can remember a couple of days after, I was sitting back on my couch thinking about everything. And you really think about from the offseason, OTAs, minicamps and you really go through the ups and downs, highs and lows from the season and you really see how difficult it is through all the adversity to actually win the Super Bowl. To me, it's one of the hardest things you can possibly do from a team sport. It's humbling to be a part of something like that. You understand how rare it is and how difficult and how hard it is to do, but at the same time, it gives you a template of what to do the rest of your career and that's what I'm bringing here to Philadelphia.
Roob: Is it something that you share with guys? Does it come up a lot or is it unspoken?
Chris Maragos: Oh, absolutely. Most of the time, I never really bring it up unless a guy will ask me questions. You know, for me, I want to be a resource to paint the picture and say, ‘Listen, this is what to expect, this is how we do it, this is how we need to piece together the things to get to where we want to go.' And guys are really receptive to that. The cool thing is we've got a locker room of guys that are really hungry. They want to be great and not average. And that's what you need if you really want to be able to get 53 guys, 10 practice squad players, to go out there and win a championship. You need every single person to give every ounce of everything and the more you can paint that picture and guys are receptive and willing to buy into that, the better it is for everyone as a whole.
Roob: You're in your eighth training camp. Obviously, everyone wants to get to the regular season. You're now four weeks away. At this point in your career, how do you get motivated for these 2½, hot practices every day?
Maragos: It's a great question. Every day I sit at my locker before I go out to practice and I remember there was a time my rookie year when I was just dying to get reps. I was just trying to be noticed, and I think that at the time there were 80 or 85 guys on the training camp roster. And I might've been the last one in the front office's mind or the coach's mind - half the people didn't even know who I was. So for me to have that mindset and say there was a time when you were dying to play in the preseason games or you were dying just to come out to practice and take a special teams rep when a guy was late getting out there and they needed a body, and you would fill in and run out there. For me, understand and realizing and remembering those things so that now the position I'm in, I can continue to have that mindset, be sharp and appreciate where I am. So to be out there every day and have the opportunity to play in the National Football League, especially for the Philadelphia Eagles, I take great pride in that.
Roob: Chris Maragos, inspiring guy. We hope you're around for eight years or more.
Maragos: Me too!