Kicker Elliott of Eagles relishes return to Memphis
Jake Elliott’s 2018 already got off to a great start by helping the Philadelphia Eagles win the Super Bowl in his rookie year
On Friday, the former Memphis kicker added another highlight to his year by winning the Main Event at the Tigers’ spring game. As one of the Tigers’ guest coaches, his team prevailed 7-3 over a team coached by fellow alum DeAngelo Williams.
It was one of his first trips back to Memphis since winning the Super Bowl, and as Elliott stayed and signed autographs following the spring game, he marveled at how fast life had changed since leaving the Tigers as its all-time leading scorer.
“The last few months have been hectic getting all the requests from media,” Elliott said, “It’s been great to take a step back and enjoy and reflect on that first year in the NFL.”
It was a rookie year that almost didn’t happen. After leaving Memphis as the program’s all-time leading scorer, Elliott was drafted in the fifth round by the Cincinnati Bengals but was waived a week before the season.
Ten days later, the Eagles signed him
off the Bengals’ practice squad later and made his debut against Kansas City on September 17. The uncertainty after being cut, however, stayed with him and served as motivation.
“That was a tough time for sure,” Elliott said about being waived. “Randy (Bullock) had a heck of a camp/preseason so hats off to him. I had a feeling that both of us would be the 32 kickers in the league this year. Having that chance as early as Week 2 was definitely nice because I didn’t know when that opportunity was going to come.”
Elliott went on to set three NFL rookie records, including the longest field goal by a rookie (61 yards) and four Eagles records. Then came the Super Bowl when he faced mentor and fellow Tiger alum Stephen Gostkowski of the New England Patriots.
Elliott outdueled Gostkowski by making three field goals, including a 46-yard attempt to set a Super Bowl rookie record. Even though Elliott won the game, he was happier to be a part of a moment that put Memphis in the spotlight.
“It was pretty cool especially for bragging rights across college football and the kicker community,” Elliott said, “Obviously watching (Gostkowski) over the years and being able to look after what he’s done and learn from him as much as I did, it was pretty fun.”
Winning the Main Event at the Tigers’ spring game was just extra icing. Elliott and Williams traded trash talk on Twitter, and while Williams kept it up at the Liberty Bowl, Elliott got the last laugh.
Just another notch in Elliott’s whirlwind year since being drafted and he was happy it came at a place where he made plenty of memories and could see how the Tigers’ fortunes have mirrored his own.
“Seeing all the familiar faces and looking where this program has gone since I came here, it’s really impressive and to be a part of it is really special,” Elliott said.
Jake Elliott of the Eagles celebrates after defeating the Patriots in Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis.