Kenny Phillips: 'I guess I'll have to learn to hate' Giants

Kenny Phillips: 'I guess I'll have to learn to hate' Giants
March 15, 2013, 7:45 pm
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He spent the last five years hating them. Now he’s one of them.

Going from the Giants to the Eagles isn’t your usual free agency move.

It’s like jumping from the Confederate Army to the Union forces. Like leaving the Hatfields and signing up with the McCoys. Like leaving Oasis and joining Blur.

Kenny Phillips finds himself a member of the enemy today.

“I just knew I didn't like the Eagles,” Phillips said Friday. “You're playing against them for so long, that's what you were taught as a Giant. Just like the Eagles were taught, you don't like the Giants. That's just how it goes.

“It's weird. It's definitely weird. But at this point I can't say I hate the Giants. When I was with the Giants I kind of disliked the Eagles. But I can't just say right now I hate the Giants. I guess I'll have to learn to hate them.”

Phillips spoke Friday, one day after signing a one-year deal with the Eagles.

Phillips spent his first five NFL seasons up the Turnpike with the Giants, winning the Super Bowl in 2011.
 
The Eagles and Giants certainly had some memorable battles during the last five years. There was an Eagles playoff win at the Meadowlands in 2008, the DeSean miracle game in 2010, the season finale last year, a 42-7 Giants win in what would be Andy Reid’s last game as Eagles coach and Phillips’ last game as a Giant.

“I didn't like them,” Phillips said. “I mean, you're in the same division. You see these guys twice a year. I played against them for five years. I respected every single one of them. I thought they had a great team, even with [Michael] Vick. I always respected their team. [Jeremy] Maclin and [Brent] Celek and DeSean. You have to respect those guys because they go out there and make plays.

“Practicing against them should be fun. I enjoyed playing against them. But now I just can't hit them. We've got to be the best of friends.”

Phillips is part of a secondary overhaul that has seen the Eagles add four veterans – safeties Phillips and Patrick Chung and cornerbacks Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher.

“Once I got here and just speaking to the coaching staff and speaking to Chip [Kelly], I can honestly say I feel at home,” Phillips said. “The Giants is a great organization. But I'm really happy to be here right now just surrounded by some great people and great players.

“I never thought I'd be sitting here today as a Philadelphia Eagle. But I'm thankful and blessed for this opportunity.”

Phillips has had knee problems throughout his career. He underwent microfracture surgery in 2009, was a full-time starter in 2010 and 2011 and then was limited to seven games last year with another knee injury, this time an MCL sprain.

When healthy, Phillips is a pretty good playmaking safety. But the Giants and their 2008 first-round pick out of Miami never engaged in serious negotiations that would have brought him back to East Rutherford.

“Just basically a new start,” Phillips said when asked why he signed with the Eagles. “I enjoyed and I'm thankful that the Giants drafted me. I won a Super Bowl with the team, had some great friendships and they're a great organization.

“But it's just time for a new start. I looked at the season [the Eagles] had last year, and I heard a lot of good things about [them] before I signed. And they're bringing in guys to make this team better, and I just want to be a part of it.

“Even before I signed with the Eagles, I saw they brought in Chung and Cary, and I was excited. I felt like we could do something special. No disrespect to the guys that they have here, because they've been doing a pretty good job.

“But the guys that they brought in here were brought in for a reason to make this secondary better. I think it's going to be fun. Because we were starting from the bottom, and it's going to be a fun time to rise to the top.”

The only question with Phillips is his knee. He’s only started more than six games twice in five seasons.

Can he stay healthy? The Eagles’ questions about Phillips are why they only gave him a one-year deal. If he proves he can be a quality, full-time safety, expect the Eagles to try and work out a long-term deal.

“It feels good,” Phillips said of his knee. “Since the season ended, I’ve been rehabbing five days a week and continue to get strong.

“I took my physical [Friday], and the doctors liked what they saw. If they didn’t, I wouldn’t be sitting here. I’m 100 percent right now, and I’m just ready to get back to work.”

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