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Ex-Eagles Safety Thriving After Jets Stole Him: ‘He’s a Ball Magnet’


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Ex-Eagles Safety Thriving After Jets Stole Him: ‘He’s a Ball Magnet’

  • Updated Dec 2, 2021 at 11:54am
Elijah Riley

Getty: New York Jets safety Elijah Riley thinking about how he can stay on the roster for the foreseeable future.

Another former Philadelphia Eagles player is thriving in a new city. This time, the decision to switch jersey colors wasn’t his own. Safety Elijah Riley was strategically poached off the practice squad by the New York Jets and now he’s a starter.

Riley, who went undrafted out of Army in 2020, joined the Jets on November 9 and stepped right in as a valuable contributor. The 23-year-old took over for injured safety Marcus Maye and recorded a key tackle-for-loss last week against the Houston Texans. He has 11 total tackles on 109 defensive snaps in two games. Jets head coach Robert Saleh has been impressed by a guy who can go "100 miles per hour with the ball.”

"He’s been a ball magnet over the first three weeks,” Saleh said, via the New York Post. "His superpower is his mental horsepower. He is a very smart young man. He can process very quickly.”

It’s no surprise that New York stole him away from Philly. He first caught the eye of Jets general manager Joe Douglas in 2020, according to Saleh, and the former Eagles personnel man attempted to "poach” him last season. One year later, Douglas made the Long Island native’s dream a reality.

"It’s a dream come true,” Riley said. "Hometown kid playing for a hometown team. It’s amazing.”

Darius Slay Saw Riley’s Talent

Eagles cornerback Darius Slay has been known to take young defensive backs under his wing and mentor them. He likes to pay it forward for what guys like Rashean Mathis and Chris Houston did for him in Detroit. The three-time Pro Bowler saw potential in Riley at training camp, so he’s not shocked another team noticed.


"I heard he’s playing great over there,” Slay told reporters. "Good thing for him, man. Him getting the opportunity to showcase his talent and do what he got to do. He well deserved it. He’s a hard worker for sure.

"The Jets noticed in training camp so one of my coaches asked me about him because my guy there, you know TO, Tony Oden, is the DB coach over there and he asked me about him right after we left him there [on the practice squad]. Shoot, I ain’t surprised he’s doing well over there.”

Remember, the Eagles and Jets held joint practices this summer and scrimmaged each other at camp. They also played to a 31-31 tie in the final preseason game. Obviously the talent evaluators in New York had a ton of information on Riley.

Jake Elliott Named Player of the Month

Jake Elliott was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Month on Thursday. The Eagles kicker has been lights out in November while connecting on all 19 of his attempts – eight field goals and 11 extra points. Elliott notched a career-high 16 points in Week 11 and moved into third place on the franchise’s all-time scoring list.

The 26-year-old is the first Eagles player to win NFC Special Teams Player of the Month since David Akers in 2010. He ranks fourth in the conference with 84 points, including 11 straight field goals and three kicks over 50 yards on the year.



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