It's a great day to be one of the 75th anniversary honorees

Posted: September 24, 2007

Walking down the hallways in the basement of Lincoln Financial Field, a giddy Vince Papale led his two children to a private reception area.

He was on hand as one of the players selected to the Eagles 75th anniversary team, the man who's name has become synonymous with improbable success stories.

"It really just hit me today, as I was listening to Seth [Joyner] talk, how truly special this is," he said. "My kids weren't around to enjoy it when I played, but I'm so glad they're here now."

The interview room was stuffed with Eagles history and Eagles greatness, with Steve Van Buren rubbing elbows with Keith Byars, Tommy McDonald smiling alongside Chuck Bednarik. Poignantly, Andre Watters, Jerome Brown and Reggie White were remembered in spirit. Brown's son and Watters' mother were introduced; Sara White, Reggie's widow, had a previous engagement and couldn't attend.

The team, chosen by the fans, was honored at halftime but equally honored just to be named to the team and excited to be around one another.

"Just to be among some of these names, these are Hall of Famers," Joyner said. "What you miss is the camaraderie. You miss the games because the competitive nature never dies, but you miss the guys more than anything else. Even though some of my teammates have passed on, the bonds never die."

Joyner, of course, has severed the bonds for a while. After eight seasons, he left for Arizona, bouncing from there to Green Bay and finally to Denver.

When the time came to walk away from the game, Joyner returned where he had those ties, choosing to retire as an Eagle.

Troy Vincent feels the same. The former cornerback hasn't officially filed his retirement papers but expects to when the season ends. If the Eagles agree, he will go out as a Bird.

"I've thought about it, and the Dolphins, who drafted me, have kept in contact with me," he said. "But my best teams were here. When the time comes here shortly, yes I will [retire as an Eagle]."

That won't be the last of Vincent's work in the NFL. Currently the president of the NFL Players Association, his term ends in March. The term for Gene Upshaw, the NFLPA executive director, ends in 2 years.

Do the math. "If the players think it's in their best interest, than that's something I'd entertain," he said. *

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