A Seattle Times tradition on the last weekend of the calendar year is a package of stories catching up with various sports newsmakers of the past year.
My contribution was a little story on former Husky Chris Polk, now finishing his first season with the Philadelphia Eagles. Polk has been active for seven games this year but does not have a carry — his lone stat is a tackle on a kickoff.
Polk signed as a free agent with the Eagles after not being taken in the draft.
When I asked him last week if he’s ever gotten a clearer answer on why he was not selected, he said “no, not really. I think it had something to do with my shoulder. But I’m actually glad actually glad things happened this way. It made me want it more and made me that much hungrier. There wasn’t a doubt in my mind that I was working hard or did everything I could that just showed me you have to work that much harder and train even harder.”
And he said not being taken has never led to him having any regrets about deciding to leave with one year of college eligibility remaining. And to be clear on that, he could have returned, even though much was made later of the fact that he had not gone through the process yet of getting a redshirt for the 2008 season, technically making him a senior. Had he wanted to return, the paperwork would have been submitted and the year granted.
Polk said he “really thought about it. It was a really hard decision. I really love Seattle and miss Seattle to this day. But I just thought it would be best for me to go when I did because running backs don’t really have that long of a (playing) life. It just seemed like the right time.”
Polk said he had a number of free agent offers, and said others he seriously considered were the Redskins. Titans and Texans. All of those are intriguing — with the Titans he would have been re-united with Jake Locker, and with the Redskins he could have been part of the RGIII phenomenon. But he said he chose the Eagles because “I just liked the organization. I really felt at home on my visit and I really felt like I fit in well. I’m pleased with my decision and just real blessed to get to do something I love for a living.”
As detailed in the linked story, Polk described his initial time on an NFL field as “really surreal. That’s the stuff you dream about.”
As noted, he’s still waiting for his first carry, and he has been used some at fullback in practices. He also dealt with a nagging toe injury that had him on the inactive list for much of the last two months, including in today’s season finale.
What the future holds with the Eagles is now harder to tell since the team will have a coaching change.
Polk said he “would have like to have gotten more playing time but at the end of the day, I’m still happy.”
He said his biggest adjustments are those familiar to just about any college graduate — adjusting to everyday life as an adult.
“The biggest challenge is definitely that you are a professional and not in college anymore,” he said. “You definitely have to play. It’s a cutthroat business and they can cut you at will any time of day, so you can never become complacent or become satisfied and definitely just the adult side of things. This is the first time for me ever living by myself. I’m used to hanging out with my teammates and coming home to roommates and now I live alone and your teammates have family, so you are really out there and grown. I never had to worry about paying my electricity bill or my rent.’’
As for the Huskies, Polk said he watched closely from afar this season, and still talked regularly to a few of his former teammates, notably Keith Price, who was his roommate.