This ex-quarterback on the Eagles has done something only 1 NFL QB has done
Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz wasn't kidding when he called Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson "probably the most dangerous player in the league" because of his ability to both pass and run.
Jackson is the reigning MVP after throwing for 3,127 yards and 36 touchdowns and rushing for 1,206 yards and 7 more TDs last season.
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The Eagles will try to stop Jackson and the Ravens on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.
Jackson is 23-4 in the regular season since becoming the Ravens' starting quarterback toward the end of the 2018 season. Three of those losses have come to Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who's 28-8 in his career as a starter.
Eagles wide receiver Greg Ward, who was a quarterback both in high school and in college, has beaten both.
The only quarterback in the NFL to accomplish the feat is Philip Rivers, now of the Indianapolis Colts. Rivers, formerly of the Chargers, had a win over Mahomes during the regular season in 2018 and a win over Jackson in the playoffs that season.
Ward was a quarterback at Tyler High School in Tyler, Texas, when he beat Mahomes at rival Whitehouse, also in Tyler. Then at the University of Houston, he beat Jackson, who was a star at Louisville.
The win over Jackson came in November 2016 when Louisville was ranked No. 3 and seemingly on its way to the College Football Playoff.
Yet Ward and the Cougars, who were unranked at the time, raced out to a 31-0 lead and buried the Cardinals, 36-10.
"I definitely have a lot of memories of that game," Ward said. "Every time I see (Jackson), just like whenever we had the (joint practices with the Ravens in the summer of 2019), I talked to him about it, just messing with him about the game."
Ward was 25-for-44 for 233 yards and two TDs that game. Jackson, meanwhile, completed 20 of 43 passes for 211 yards and a touchdown and ran for just 33 yards on 25 carries. His rushing total included 83 yards lost on sacks.
Jackson won the Heisman Trophy that season. He had 4,928 yards of offense and 51 touchdowns – 30 passing and 21 rushing. Jackson's 1,538 rushing yards are the most-ever by a Heisman-winning quarterback.
That 2016 season was Ward's last at Houston. He switched to wide receiver heading into the NFL draft, but wasn't selected. The Eagles signed him as an undrafted free agent, then placed him on the practice squad.
Ward waited 2½ seasons for his chance at the 53-man roster, with the Eagles releasing him six times during that span, before finally getting that promotion late last season.
Ward became the Eagles' most reliable receiver over the final month of last season, when the Eagles won four straight games to make the playoffs.
This season, Ward leads the Eagles with 22 receptions. He's second on the team in receiving yards with 172.
The high school game against Mahomes back in 2012 in the first round of the playoffs was just as memorable.
Tyler trailed Mahomes and Whitehouse High School 24-0 in the first half before rallying to win 45-38.
Ward threw touchdown passes of 25, 54, and 71 yards in the second half.
In all, Ward passed for 318 yards, ran for 147 and had five touchdowns. Mahomes was 28 of 47 with 435 yards and 4 TDs.
Since then, Mahomes starred at Texas Tech, then became the Chiefs' first-round pick (10th overall) in the 2017 draft.
Mahomes won the MVP award in 2018 and led the Chiefs to the Super Bowl championship last season. Over the summer, Mahomes signed a 10-year, $450 million contract extension.
"Those games in high school were crazy, record setting for both of us," Ward said last month, shortly after Mahomes signed his new contract. "Very competitive. It really doesn’t surprise me what he’s doing right now. He’s been doing it since high school and in college, so now he’s just doing it at the top level."
And Ward's thoughts on Jackson?
"Dude’s a baller," Ward said. "He’s a dog, always had that underdog mentality. He’s going out there and proving himself."
Does Ward think he'd have a chance to succeed at quarterback in the NFL if he came after Mahomes and Jackson?
"As far as playing quarterback, I don’t know," he said.
Ward's road to the NFL certainly wasn't as smooth as Jackson's. The Ravens drafted Jackson in 2018 with the last pick of the first round, 32nd overall, after making a trade with the Eagles.
Ward, meanwhile, was in the midst of an odyssey that went from the Eagles' practice squad, to being out of football for most of the 2018 season to a stint with the now-defunct Alliance of American Football.
"Sometimes coming from certain colleges, you don’t get the recognition," Ward said. "But whenever you do get the opportunity, which you don’t have many, but honestly you only need one. So whenever you get it, just run with it."
Lane Johnson out again
Right tackle Lane Johnson missed a second straight day of practice because of an ankle injury that caused him to leave the game last Sunday against Pittsburgh. Safety Marcus Epps and linebacker Duke Riley (both ribs) also missed a second straight day. And RG Matt Pryor was out with an illness.
WRs DeSean Jackson (hamstring) and Alshon Jeffery (foot) were limited, as were CBs Darius Slay (concussion) and Avonte Maddox (ankle), and TE Richard Rodgers (neck).
Contact Martin Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @Mfranknfl.