Jordan Hicks

Several of his ex-teammates remember favorite Jon Dorenbos stories

Several of his ex-teammates remember favorite Jon Dorenbos stories

Jon Dorenbos wasn't just a fan favorite. He was a favorite teammate inside the Eagles' locker room too. 

Often, specialists are pretty segregated throughout the day, but Dorenbos was much more to his teammates than a long snapper. He was a showman, a friend and a positive influence in the room. 

That's why so many of his teammates took it hard when Dorenbos was traded to the Saints for a seventh-round pick on Monday night (see story). They know the NFL is a business; Rick Lovato is taking over but they're going to miss the Magic Man. 

With that in mind, CSNPhilly asked several of his former teammates in the locker room on Tuesday for their favorite stories about Dorenbos. Here's what we heard: 

Malcolm Jenkins  
"He has emceed my foundation fundraiser the last two years. And this past year, his grand trick involved him pulling his pants down and literally pulling a card out of his ... tail. But it was cool, man. He obviously had a huge box of 200 decks of cards that's here all the time, he's practicing his tricks. I just think his positive attitude is something that's hard to find in a football locker room that's all year round. A guy that's constantly in a good mood, that's constantly joking around. He's just a good friend and obviously a guy that's going to be missed." 

Jordan Hicks
"I remember I came in right after I got drafted. You know how you come in that next morning? And nobody was here. I remember sitting in [former Eagles players secretary Karen Gerstle's] office and he was the first person I met that was on the team. He told me his story, told me his process of getting here. Asked where I was from. He was just like 'Oh, man, you're going to love it, bunch of great guys!' Really just ... you could see his energy from Day 1. Just sitting there in Karen's office, I was like if all the guys are like this, I'm going to have a freakin' blast. He was just talking about how awesome it was to be in Philly and how awesome it was to play in this league, play in the NFL and how much he enjoyed it. To me, that's probably the best memory I have with him, probably the fondest memory. He was the first person on the team that I met. And just the ability to see that energy, see that positivity, really gave me coming into it, a nervous rookie, somebody who doesn't know what to expect, really gave me a positive perspective, a positive approach when I came back that next week." 

Rick Lovato 
"The one moment that does stick out to me the most is when we had our family day practice over at the stadium at the beginning of training camp. The way he responds to the fans and bringing a kid onto the field with him to throw around. And just seeing that and seeing how much those kids and the fans appreciate all that he did and all that he was for Philadelphia, it really made me see there's so much more to this game than football. It's really awesome to be able to see that and how many people he's been able to touch in this area." 

Brandon Graham 
"Just the shows he used to do. Every year was something different with Dorenbos. He was hosting a lot of stuff; I've been to a lot of events. I loved when he had his little shows and he'd go up to different lockers and kind of have fun with them, whatever the topic was that day. I think those were the most fun because it was more personal with the athletes being in the locker room." 

Chris Maragos 
"I would just say, there's a million of them, but his way with connecting with the guys. He would always break down our huddle the Saturday before the game with a funny random fact and it would somehow correlate to our team and our game or the team we were playing and the date we were playing on. Something like that. He always had something funny. And he was always so smooth, almost like he was rehearsing it for two weeks. And he probably just thought of it five minutes before he went out there. It's just things like that, his randomness, him popping off, doing a trick or stealing a guy's wallet or whatever it might be. Definitely one of those type of things for sure." 

Steven Means
"Coach (Dave) Fipp told me he wanted me to pin [Dorenbos'] hip and lean toward him a little bit. I remember kind of like hitting him and almost picking him up and throwing him. Normally that guy would be kind of mad about it or whatever. He came over and patted me, 'Thanks, man, thanks for the look.' The next play, I went down on the guard and he tried to give me a little extra push. We looked at each other and smiled. And it's just that kind of competitive spirit and nature. He's always been a good dude. He even told me he'd help me snap if that was what I was trying to do, joked around with him before. He's that type of guy."

Eagles without Brandon Graham, Jordan Hicks vs. Dolphins

Eagles without Brandon Graham, Jordan Hicks vs. Dolphins

The Eagles will be without two defensive starters against the Dolphins on Thursday night in their preseason game.

Left defensive end Brandon Graham (elbow) and middle linebacker Jordan Hicks (quad) are both sitting out.

It's unclear who will replace them in the starting lineup, but Najee Goode or Joe Walker will take Hicks' spot. Derek Barnett or Chris Long will take Graham's (see 10 players to watch). During pregame warmups, Goode and Barnett lined up with the first team. 

Nick Foles (elbow), Paul Turner (shoulder), Sidney Jones (Achilles), Josh Andrews (hand), Beau Allen (pec), Billy Brown and Destiny Vaeao will also miss the game. Brown missed practice on Tuesday and Vaeao left early with an unspecified injury.

Without Foles, Matt McGloin will be the Eagles' backup quarterback and will take over after Carson Wentz comes out. That likely won't be until the second half, as is customary in the third preseason game.

Bryce Treggs (sore legs), Wendell Smallwood (hamstring) and Jason Peters (personal reasons) all return to the field tonight after missing last week's game.

5 minutes with Roob: Jordan Hicks expects Eagles to have top-5 defense

5 minutes with Roob: Jordan Hicks expects Eagles to have top-5 defense

In today's "Five Minutes with Roob," Reuben Frank chats with Eagles linebacker Jordan Hicks:

Roob: Tell me about growing up just north of Cincinnati. I guess one of your high school coaches was Carlton Gray, a guy who played in the league and a guy whose — do you know who his grandfather was?

Hicks: Uh, wasn't he a musician. No, he was the — the Black Panthers president?

Roob: Benjamin Hooks. He was an activist.

Hicks: NAACP.

Roob: NAACP, yeah. So, thanks for watching — no. What was it like having a professional, a former NFL guy — he was a cornerback — but to have a guy like that at a young age help shape your career.

Hicks: He really influenced the way I view the game. He was really touted as a guy who was smart and understood coverages and understood defense as a whole. Having the ability to be able to get up on the board with him — he would always get us up on the board — things that guys in the league, guys in college — prepping you for those stages. And to have somebody be able to that for me for me at that early of a stage just really, really helped me grow and mature and be ready for the next steps.

Roob: He was known as a very cerebral player and I guess you are too. Is that a side of your game that you always took a lot of pride in? The preparation, knowing what to expect, knowing what to look for?

Hicks: Yeah, yeah. And it's grown over the years, that's for sure. As my knowledge of the game and really for offenses have increased, but it's — I've always taken a lot of pride in it and I continue to grow, continue to learn. There's guys that I'm always looking at trying to pick pieces of their game, constantly asking the offense questions. 

Roob: Rookie year you come in, make a lot of plays, then get hurt in that Dallas game. Last year, you play 16 games. How big was it to play all year? You know, people like to tag players and they tag you as injury-prone. You got a little banged up at Texas, but you put together 16 games last year and stayed healthy all year. How big was that?

Hicks: It's huge for me. Confidence wise, first of all. And then being able to prove to my teammates that this is what I'm doing. I'm going to be out there on the field. I'm taking this super serious, and I put a premium on my health in making sure I was doing everything throughout the year, whether it was nutrition, whether it was recovery, to make sure my body was in tip-top shape. I think that's part of the maturation of becoming a pro. You learn what works for you, you learn your body, you understand what doesn't work for you and how your body responds to certain things. Just a part of the process and obviously I've made that jump. 

Roob: The football seems to find you. I don't know if you know the stat, but you're the first linebacker with 11 takeaways in your first 24 games since Jack Hamm — Hall of Famer who played for the Steelers in the '70s — seven picks and four fumbles. How much of that is just being prepared and knowing what to expect and how much of it is the way the ball bounces, how much of it is a combination of everything, and then the numbers are crazy,

Hicks: I think it is, I think it's a combination of everything. You can't put your finger on one thing and say that's it. I take a lot of pride in my preparation so that I am in the right spot when the plays come. I think having the ability to actually finish the play — a lot of times, guys get the opportunity to make the plays and they don't catch the ball or they don't scoop the ball the right way or whatever it may be. But I've always, ever since I was young, if the ball touches my hands, it should be mine. With that frame of mind, I take that into practice and I've always prepared myself for that.

Roob: Year 3 now. What do you want to focus on as far as getting better? I know a lot of guys pick one thing they want to get better at.

Hicks: For me, it'd be the run game. Everybody's talking about the pass game, pass game, pass game, but as a linebacker, you have to be able to play the run. I think I can — I know I can — it's just a matter of proving that, being physical at the point of attack and making my presence felt.

Roob: Pro Bowls have eluded you so far, unfairly. I think you deserved to go last year. Do you think about that kind of stuff? Or are your goals mainly team goals?

Hicks: It's more important as a team, and everything will fall in place as we play well. As long as we're doing the things we need to do in here and out here, I think on Sundays everything will work out the way it's supposed to.

Roob: How do you like the way this defense has performed so far in camp?

Hicks: I like where we're at. I think that we've got some places to go. We have the potential to be very good.

Roob: I'd be surprised if this is not a top-10 defense. 

Hicks: I would too. That's the expectation. The expectation is to be top five. 

Roob: Let's go top three.

Hicks: Let's go top one.

Roob: Not No. 1. Hasn't happened since '91 here.

Hicks: We're not comparing ourselves to anybody else. It's a matter of excellence for us, and setting a standard for ourselves all the way to the top, as high as we can push it and constantly push ourselves to get better. Focusing on everybody else, all that is a distraction. As long as we're making sure that everything in-house is correct, everything, again, will fall into place.