Camden Native Haason Reddick Signs with the Philadelphia Eagles
By Klein Aleardi

Today, Camden native and NFL Outside Linebacker Haason Reddick reportedly signed a $45 million deal ($30 million guaranteed) with the Philadelphia Eagles as a free agent.

Let’s take a look back at the work that got him here. 

Photo Credit: John Clark/NBC

Rewind to 2017: more than 70,000 eager fans waiting on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway last April, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that the Arizona Cardinals would choose Camden-native Haason Reddick as the 13th overall pick of the 2017 Draft. And the crowd went wild.

He stayed with the team from 2017 to 2020 before spending the 2021-2022 season with the Carolina Panthers. Now 27, he’s got 5 NFL seasons under his belt. Reddick has come a long way from his days playing football with friends on the fields of Camden, and if his history is any indication, he’ll go much further. No one can say Reddick hasn’t earned his time in the spotlight.

“I only know hard work, dedication and how to be a competitor,” says Reddick. “It’s something that was instilled in me from my parents and from Camden.”

Reddick has held onto that mentality through every obstacle he’s faced – from his high school injuries that restricted him to just four game appearances in his last two years to a walk-on, redshirt status at Temple. Even when then Owls head coach Steve Addazio asked Reddick to leave after one year on the team, he never gave up.

“I think when it came time for college recruiting,” Reddick says. “I was overlooked because I hadn’t gotten much training time and didn’t have a lot of tape like other players. But I planned to be prepared for my opportunity whenever it was going to come. I would go harder than everybody else to show them I could do this.”

Haason Reddick with his parents Raymond Matthew and RaeLakia Reddick when he was drafted to the Cardinals in 2017; Photo: Rob Schumacher/az central sports

That confidence and dedication, Reddick says, was supported by a foundation built by his parents. Their encouragement has been the stable factor throughout his rocky football career, ever since its start at Camden Little League.

From Little League to the NFL, they were there to help him push forward – like the time Reddick’s father, Raymond Matthew, visited the Owl’s head coach with his son to negotiate a walk-on status. And when finances were holding Reddick back freshman year, his mom stepped in.

“The team and I, we would always be together for practice,” Reddick says. “But afterward, the team would eat together and I wouldn’t be with them because I didn’t have a meal plan, which made socializing impossible.”

While RaeLakia Reddick originally planned to save money early on to avoid hefty expenses toward the end of her son’s college career, plans changed once she heard about his difficulties. That year, she took out a loan to pay for a meal plan.

“I realized what was working for me wasn’t working for him, and I knew that by any means necessary, I had to change that,” RaeLakia says.

Little by little, Reddick chipped away at the doubters. And although Addazio asked him not to return for a second year, a change in command opened doors for the athlete.

With Matt Rhule taking the head coach position for the 2013 season and Reddick sliding into a new position as defensive end, the sophomore grabbed his opportunity.

“I knew I had to go out there and make plays in practice,” Reddick says. “That way, I would show up on film and the coaching staff could see me. That’s what I did when I got my chance, and my role continued to grow.”

Saying Reddick’s role simply grew is an understatement. By his senior year, Reddick was a dominating force – on and off the field. It started in the summer, when he finally earned a sports scholarship from Temple to shed his walk-on title.

That same summer, his teammates voted to give him a single-digit jersey (No. 7) – a sign of respect among Owls.

A phenomenal season followed. He had come a long way since his redshirt freshman season, recording 10.5 sacks and an interception during his final year. But most importantly, he earned an invitation to the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine and high expectations from commentators across the country.

“I wanted to go in there and put everything I had into it,” Reddick says. “I knew I would do well because I was prepared, I did what I planned to do.”

His preparation resulted in a 4.52-second 40-yard dash, the fastest among defensive line prospects, a 36.5-inch vertical jump and a 133-inch broad jump at the Combine. His performance catapulted him to the top of several NFL team’s wish lists.

Even when Reddick was first drafted to the Cardinals, he made sure the move didn’t pull him too far from his roots. And sure enough, his hard work lead him right back to home, where he gas big plans to give back to the place where he grew up.

When he has the resources and a stable platform, Reddick wants to start a foundation for the youth in Camden – it’s been his plan for years.

“Luckily for me, I had support that kept me on the straight and narrow path,” Reddick says.

“There are a lot of kids with talent in Camden, but without guidance, they sometimes fall into the streets. I want to be that person who gives the youth proper guidance and is a resource for them, whether they want to be an astronaut or a football player. That way, they can have the same opportunities I had.”

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