Great day for Birds at Franklin Field

Nick Foles, DeMeco Ryans walk on track and out onto Franklin Field for practice.
Nick Foles, DeMeco Ryans walk on track and out onto Franklin Field for practice. (David Maialetti / Staff Photographer)
Posted: August 12, 2014

THERE WAS no artificial turf or an inflatable plastic Eagles head for the players to run through onto the field, when the Birds won the 1960 NFL championship at Franklin Field, their home from 1958-70. But despite those differences, the bricks and concrete were the same yesterday, as the Eagles held their final public training-camp practice in front of a crowd of about 28,000 people, in the oldest stadium still being used for NCAA football, built on the Penn campus in 1895.

Legends from the past were honored, and attendees included Chuck Bednarik, Pete Retzlaff and Jeremiah Trotter, among more than 30 others.

"It's been amazing, just walking on the field, knowing there's so much history here. I had never been here before. It's an amazing stadium. The fans are unbelievable," quarterback Nick Foles said. "It's an honor for us to be practicing here, with so much history, so many great Eagles players watching us, it's really a blessing."

Rookie receiver Jordan Matthews noted that "Chuck Bednarik has an award named after him" in college football. "That's pretty impressive . . . It's just great to see the fans, how they react to those guys. These are the best fans in the NFL. You couldn't ask to play for a better crowd."

Rookie linebacker Marcus Smith said: "I have never seen anything like this. It's a great day to be out here with these fans."

Jeremy Maclin said he had been to Franklin Field for the Penn Relays, but never for football.

"This is something that represents Philly, for sure," he said.

Retzlaff told the Eagles website that Franklin Field "is a great football stadium" with wonderful sightlines. He said in 1960, as now, the biggest problem was parking.

- Les Bowen

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