Geathers hopes to settle in at one place

Posted: November 04, 2013

UNCERTAINTY is a word defensive end Clifton Geathers, now playing on his sixth NFL team in 4 years, has become overly familiar with.

Geathers' unusual journey to the Eagles came about after being cut five times before being traded by the Indianapolis Colts to the Eagles for fullback Stanley Havili last offseason. With instability throughout his short career, Geathers is ready to settle down with a team and hopes Philadelphia turns into a place he can call home for more than one season.

"Cliff comes to work every day, and he is a guy that wants opportunities to play and make plays," defensive end Cedric Thornton said. "He is a guy that has been on a lot of teams, and he just wants to stick around and find a comfort zone here and be effective on this defensive line."

In 2010, Geathers was a sixth-round selection of the Browns, and joined the Miami Dolphins shortly after being cut by Cleveland. After playing one game in Miami, he joined the Seattle Seahawks, then Dallas for his second and last game of 2010. Geathers landed back in Dallas in 2011, but was cut again before joining the Colts in 2012.

"The coaches made decisions, I played my [butt] off, and they made decisions. I didn't have much opportunities, and now I've got them, and hopefully I capitalize on them," Geathers said of playing on his sixth NFL team. "[The Eagles] put me out there, and I play. I made a couple of plays, and that's my opportunity here. I'm very happy and I think I'm blessed."

In addition to being the physically largest member of the Eagles' defensive line at 6-8, 340, Geathers uses his family's football-rich history to his advantage.

His older brother, Bengals defensive end Robert Geathers, has spent nine seasons with Cincinnati after being drafted in the fourth round of the 2004 NFL Draft. His younger brother, Kwame Geathers, is in his first season with San Diego after signing with the team as an undrafted free agent in 2013. His father, Robert, Sr. was an NFL draft pick, and his uncle, James "Jumpy" Geathers starred in the NFL.

"The days that I'm down or the days that I'm upset, I can call my brother or I can call my uncle, and they can talk to me and let me know ways to go about certain things," Geathers said.

"Throughout my career, my uncle has just told me to keep going, keep balling and keep doing your techniques with your hands. He also told me to do what the coaches tell you and if you do that, you will be fine."

After being cut five times and traded once, Geathers listened to advice from his Uncle Jumpy. Understanding that it's a dog-eat-dog league, Geathers is grateful to be playing in Philadelphia this season and to be making an impact on Bill Davis' defense, most recently against Dallas and New York.

"Cliff is one of our best run defenders," Davis said. "When teams step up and start throwing those two-back runs at us, all of a sudden, we put big Cliff in, and he's a handful for them. So he's gotten better and better as we go. There are some people that come out, Dallas was all spread you out, empty, and it wasn't the downhill run game. New York came back and presented a two-back downhill run game and played better, and really, just got to show what Cliff's capable and what his strengths are is really what happened there."

"Clifton is one hell of a player," defensive end Vinny Curry said. "He is long and he brings some experience to our room, and he is just a good teammate and a good all-around player."

This season, Geathers has already matched his career high of eight games played and has set new highs with 14 total tackles (eight solo and six assisted). In addition to increased opportunities with the Eagles, many say his size and long arms can be credited for his increased production.

"I use my tools and I think it's really an advantage for me," Geathers said. "You don't really find too many big, big guys or usually they are on the o-line, so I just use my arms and my strength to my advantage."

"You're looking at a guy with long arms like that who can pick up a lot of space," defensive end Fletcher Cox said. "I mean, seriously, he is a good athlete. He can move around, rush, stop the run and he just enjoys doing it."

When the Eagles dealt defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga to the Patriots before Tuesday's trade deadline, it meant increased playing time for defensive tackle Bennie Logan. The deal also could work in favor for Geathers, who might not only continue to see time at defensive end, but also play nose tackle.

"Somebody's got to stand up, so I definitely look for him to step up and make some more plays like he did last Sunday for us," Thornton said.

While Geathers is unsure about how he will be used tomorrow against Oakland and how much playing time he will see, he also is uncertain about his future in Philadelphia. Hoping to remain with the team past 2014, Geathers said the only thing he can do is keep his head up and give it his all.

"I have never held my head down. I have given each team I've played for 110 percent, so I never worried about fair chances or anything like that," he said. "The NFL is not fair, and, honestly, if you give it 110 percent, you go out with your head up."

On Twitter: @JohnMurrow12

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