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Game On
An Eagles bromance is brewing in South Jersey
By Dave Spadaro

Dallas Goedert wants to play. He wants his roommate, Avonte Maddox, to go to one side of the quiet 5,000-square-foot house they share in SJ, grab his toy gun that shoots nerf balls, look for Maddox and have at it. May the best man win.

If you had a best friend who worked with you, had the same schedule, the same interests and enough money to rent a dream bachelor pad/game room/playhouse, wouldn’t you do it? That’s what Goedert, a tight end for the Philadelphia Eagles who wears jersey number 88, is doing with his teammate Maddox, No. 29 and a cornerback for the Eagles.

“We just want to have a good time,” Maddox says. “You know, get away from the stress, just chill out and have some fun. That’s what we’re trying to do at our house. It’s great. Nobody bothers us. We can just play video games and hang out.”

When you watch it on television, the glamour of professional football is clear to see. It’s not-to-be-missed action, and for the young men who step on an NFL field, there is nothing like the rush and intensity of a football game played in front of 70,000 fans, with millions more tuning in from the comfort of their living rooms.

“I’ve been dreaming of playing in the NFL for as long as I can remember,” Maddox says. “Being out there on that field, it’s a dream come true. But to get there, that’s the part nobody tells you about. Nobody tells you how much work it takes, that you can’t do it alone.”

Maddox made it growing up in Detroit, playing his college football at the University of Pittsburgh and becoming a fourth-round draft pick of the Eagles in 2018. He has a strong support system that’s helped him reach the league. But once he arrived in Philadelphia, he was on his own.

Not for long.

The day before Maddox was drafted, the Eagles used the 49th overall draft pick on Goedert, a South Dakota State tight end. Two weeks later, both Maddox and Goedert walked into the NovaCare Complex and learned they had a common friend, Brian O’Neil – who now plays with the Minnesota Vikings – and, well, that was the beginning. It didn’t take long for the friendship to take off.

One season later, Maddox and Goedert live in a rented house in South Jersey that is, really, a funhouse for oversized teenagers. They’ve got all the room they want to play video games, shoot Nerf balls at each other, hang out in the backyard around the hot tub – a paintball area might happen in the future – invite their families over for weekends and generally do the things that 24-year-old (Goedert) and 23-year-old (Maddox) young men do when they’re not playing in the high-pressure world of the NFL.

“It’s our place where we can just hang out and be friends and get away from football,” Goedert says. “Avonte is just a cool guy. He’s laid back, and he’s easy to get along with. I think we’re both likeable guys, and we’re going to always have a good time together.”

The challenge the two are having in their year living together is they’ve both had injuries interrupt their play time. Goedert suffered a calf injury in August, and then Maddox suffered a concussion and a neck injury in late September.

“It’s cutting into our play time,” Goedert says. “We need to get healthy and stay healthy.”
Goedert and Maddox have something far more meaningful than a run-of-the-mill bromance. They have a true friendship – “for life,” Goedert says – and they’ve come to rely on each other to make the most of the pressure-filled NFL life. And with that, they’ve learned to recognize each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

Maddox says Goedert’s best trait is that he’s “a funny guy.” His housemate’s worst trait is that he’s “messy, junky.” To that, Goedert laughs. What are Maddox’s best and worst traits? It’s all related.

“His worst trait is that he’s always nagging on me to pick up my stuff, whether it’s shoes at the door, shoes in the living room,” Goedert says. “I may take off my shirt and leave it in the living room, and he’s always nagging me for that, and it gets kind of old. I just leave that stuff. I never pick it up. So his best trait is that he’ll pick it all up. He’ll pick up my shoes and put them where he wants them. He’ll pick up the trash. He’s a clean guy.”

The work day on this Friday is over. It’s Goedert’s day to drive home from the NovaCare Complex, and with Maddox still not fully healed from a neck injury, Goedert is pulling some extra driving duty – they normally each drive two days. It will be a “chill” night.

They’re laughing as they walk out of the building and into the parking lot. They’re just two kids, friends and teammates with the world in their hands, and they’re going to make the most of the time in the NFL. It’s a dream life, one they’ve both been thinking about since they were kids. So they plan to have a good time.

“I guess we aren’t that much different than when we were teenagers,” Maddox says. “Just doing our thing, having a good time. I know that Dallas will always have my back and I will always have his, and that means a lot to me. We’re brothers. That’s never going to change.”

 

Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro has covered every Eagles game since 1987, and is seen and heard throughout the year on television, radio and Eagles coverage everywhere. You can hear his Eagles Live Podcast on iTunes.

November 2019
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