Summer 2024

Eagles sign Josh McCown as oldest practice-squad player in NFL history

Over 17 seasons, quarterback Josh McCown has experienced one of the most unique NFL careers you could imagine. And that will continue in 2020, his 18th year in the NFL.

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The Philadelphia Eagles announced Monday that they had signed McCown to their practice squad, making him the oldest practice-squad player in NFL history. He turned 41 on July 4. McCown became an option for the expanded practice teams due to new COVID-19 roster protocols, which allow teams to place up to six veteran players on the now 16-player squads.

However, unlike the rest of the practice players, McCown will not be in Philadelphia. He will stay at his home in Rusk, Texas, where he can continue to coach high school football. And he’ll be involved with the Eagles as sort of a player-coach. He’s been a mentor to starting quarterback Carson Wentz, and his wisdom will also be dispensed to backup QBs Nate Sudfeld and Jalen Hurts. Should anything — injuries or COVID-19 — impact the active-roster quarterbacks, McCown could be called out to Philadelphia.

“He’s played on this team. He knows our team. He knows our system, that we can keep on practice squad and keep him plugged in, and we’re going to continue to work out the details of his week here in the next few days,” Pederson told reporters.

“Having Josh around last year was huge for me, but really for this entire building,” Wentz told reporters. “He provided a lot of insight, a lot of energy. He was kind of a mentor to a lot of guys. He’s twice the age of some guys in this building. I always give him a little crap for that … I’m pretty proud of him setting another record this year for being the oldest practice squad player. He’s always setting new records.”

Eagles tight end Zach Ertz was also a fan of the move:

Drafted in the third round of the 2002 NFL Draft out of Sam Houston State, McCown has played with 11 NFL teams. He made his first-ever playoff appearance last year when he entered the Eagles’ game against Seattle for an injured Wentz.

McCown is also a spiritual leader for the Eagles, as he has been on other NFL teams he’s played for. He says his desire to serve others stems from his relationship with God.

“The heart of serving begins when you believe so much in what you’ve surrendered to that you are willing to give up yourself to make sure others have that too,” he said in “Football Sunday,” an annual sermon-replacement video McCown helped launch in 2015. “Jesus came so that we would know the Father. If we are going to be a ransom for people, we need to be willing to say, ‘Whatever it takes for you to have peace and a connection with God, I’ll do that.’ If that means giving someone a smile, I’ll do that. If it means giving of my time and resources, I’ll do that. That small act of service might just be the thing that person needs to point them to know Jesus.”

After his first few years in the NFL when he saw other men living out a life for Christ, McCown vowed to live the same way.

“My life is not my own,” McCown wrote for The Increase in 2018. “And that’s a very freeing thing. I’m free because I’ve surrendered to Christ. All the worldly expectations and standards are gone because I’ve surrendered and chosen to follow Jesus.”

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