You don’t always get a second chance in life, much less a third and fourth chance. So, Paul Worrilow knows how lucky he is.
Worrilow, the former University of Delaware linebacker, signed a one-year contract with the Eagles on Wednesday, a little less than a year after he signed a one-year deal for the first time with the team he grew up rooting for.
That year wasn’t a good one, as Worrilow injured his knee on May 22 at the beginning off-season drills. He was put on injured reserve and his first season with the Eagles was over before it really began.
Worrilow, 28, who got his start playing football at St. Mary Magdalen School and Concord High, worked diligently to rehab his knee, even though he knew there were no guarantees the Eagles would give him another chance. It’s not like he was a superstar the Eagles were counting on – Worrilow was projected as a backup and special teams player when he was injured.
But the Eagles were impressed by the way he attacked his rehab program and they were also impressed at how he diligently attended team meetings and film sessions and stayed in the game mentally while he was injured.
And it didn’t hurt that the Eagles are thin at linebacker, especially in the middle, which is Worrilow’s preferred position. Their incumbent starter, Jordan Hicks, will become a free agent in March and he’s dealt with injury issues of his own.
So, Paul Worrilow is getting another chance to play for his favorite team.
“I love the Birds,” Worrilow told Dave Spadaro, a writer with the Eagles web site. “It’s where I want to be. The way they treat the players, the way they make the players feel part of the team even when they’re hurt like I was, it’s special. I’ve been around teams where, if you’re hurt, you’re hurt. For me this season, the team did everything possible to make sure I felt like I was part of the team and helping out.”
Worrilow is certainly used to bucking the odds. Even though he was an All-State player at Concord he had to make the Delaware team as a walk-on. And even though he shined for the Blue Hens, he wasn’t drafted and had to make the Atlanta Falcons roster as an undrafted free agent. He eventually earned a starting job with the Falcons and in four seasons with them started 43 games and twice had more than 100 tackles.
Then the Falcons went in a different direction and Worrilow was released prior to the 2017 season before he signed with the Detroit Lions, for whom he played in 13 games, starting eight. And when he became a free agent last year, he jumped at the chance to sign with team he cheered for his entire life.
And then he did it again, signing another one-year contract with the Eagles this week. And Worrilow said that, despite missing an entire season with a serious knee injury, he’s in the best shape of his life.
“When they told me the extent of the injury I was like, ‘OK, what’s next? How do I rehab this? Let’s go.’
“And that’s what I did. I tried to channel my competitiveness into everything I did. I can confidently say that this is the best shape I’ve been in, collectively, since I’ve been in the league. … I’m stronger now at this point that I was after my last season in Detroit, by far.
“Honestly, I feel awesome,” he added. “I feel the best I’ve ever felt at this point in the off-season. I’m looking forward to getting back out there and playing football again.”
However, that competitiveness can be a two-edged sword and Worrilow admits he wasn’t always the “best person to be around” during his rehab, especially on game days.
“I missed it so much,” he said.
And now he’s getting another chance and he knows that doesn’t happen very often in life, much less the NFL.
“I want to have an impact playing for this team,” Worrilow said. “I want to make a positive impact for this team more than for any other team in the league. I bleed green. I’m so glad to be coming back. I’ m excited to re-write this story a little bit.”