_____________________________ ST. NORBERT CHURCH           RATES ________________________


Ex-Gahr High standout Joshua Perkins excited to be playing in the City of Brotherly Love

Former Gahr High standout Joshua Perkins is enjoying his new opportunity as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles. The tight end, who was signed by the Atlanta Falcons as an undrafted player in 2016, will be entering his third season with the Eagles.


By Loren Kopff • @LorenKopff on Twitter • June 3, 2020

When Joshua Perkins was playing football at Gahr High, and then at the University of Washington, he initially thought about playing at least 10 years in the National Football League. But like every athlete, he is taking it year by year, still saying he wants to play as long as he possibly could.

After spending the first two seasons of his pro career playing for the Atlanta Falcons, Perkins has moved up the Atlantic seaboard where he is now a member of the Philadelphia Eagles, his home since 2018. But what makes his story different from most of the current NFL players is the fact that Perkins was signed as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Washington.

“As an undrafted player, you have a less opportunity, I feel like,” Perkins said. “You have to take advantage of those; you have a shorter leash. You can’t make as many mistakes as the drafted people. As an undrafted player, I feel like you have to make 10 plays before you get credit for one and your mistakes are magnified. So that’s why when you go in as an undrafted player, you have to be on your stuff and be willing to learn.

“I don’t think it’s what I expected it to be, but I definitely enjoy it.” Perkins later added. “Like I said, being undrafted is a harder road. But I wouldn’t want it any other way because I can honestly say that I’ve earned everything that I’ve gotten so far.”

Perkins was inactive for the first half of his rookie season, then made his debut on Nov. 3, 2016 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He caught three passes for 42 yards in the final eight regular season games that season, then played in three postseason games, including Super Bowl LI.

“It was a great experience,” Perkins said of playing in the Super Bowl. “I wish it would have ended a little better for me, but it’s definitely an experience that I’ll definitely cherish forever. There are players that have been in the league for 10 years and they have never been to the playoffs. So, to be able to go to the Super Bowl my rookie year was really big for me.”

The 2017 season was a topsy-turvy ordeal for Perkins, who was waived by the Falcons in early September, only to be signed by the organization a day later before being released from their practice squad a little more than a month later.

“After my second year in Atlanta, I was cut and then I was on the practice squad for five weeks,” Perkins said. “It was a tough situation because I really wanted to play. Then I got cut altogether and I ended up having surgery that year, so I had to rehab a whole lot. As soon as I got healthy, I got cut and a week later, I signed with Philly. It was a tough time, [but] it was a blessing in disguise because it helped me mature a lot.”

Following hernia surgery on his groin, his fortunes turned around for the better as Perkins was signed by the Eagles on Jan. 15, 2018 and played in the first nine games that season. Of the five catches he caught that season, four of them came in the second game against Tampa Bay. In that game, he also had a career-high 57 yards with 30 of them coming off one pass.

“I don’t think I was surprised,” Perkins recalled of being picked up by the Eagles. “I had a couple of other teams interested as well, but I chose Philly because I thought they had a lot of potential and I thought I could fit in well there. They ended up winning the Super Bowl that year, too. So, I was happy with that.”

In the ninth game of the 2018 season, Perkins, a tight end, injured left knee against Dallas as he was blocking and another player ran into his knee, taking his leg out from underneath him. Still, he managed to play the remainder of the game and didn’t know he had hurt it until the next day when he went in for treatment. His season would be done, but he was still excited to be with his new team. Even though he couldn’t play in the game, the biggest highlight was watching his team knock off the New England Patriots 41-33 in Super Bowl LII.

“My first year in Philly was cool,” Perkins said. “We had a couple of injuries early on in the season, so it allowed me to get on the field a lot sooner. I tried to take advantage of the opportunities that I got early on in that season.”

The 2019 season began almost the same as the 2017 season with Perkins being waived by the Eagles, then signed the next day to the practice squad. Still, he didn’t get his first action until the 12thgame, a Dec. 1 road game at the Miami Dolphins. The next game would be his best thus far when he caught a career-high five passes for 37 yards against the New York Giants. He wouldn’t catch another pass until the season finale against the Giants again where he caught four passes for 50 yards.

“That was a definitely tough experience for me in the beginning because I thought I should be playing,” Perkins said of that season. “My mindset was bad at the beginning of the season, but it was a blessing in disguise. I started reading more and started doing a lot more things in the morning to get my mind right before I went out. It kind of turned me around. I never stopped working, though. I knew my opportunity would eventually come, so I kept working and working.”

Perkins has one more year on his current contract and even tough he can’t be on the field for the time being because of the COVID-19 situation, he keeps in contact with his coaches four times a week and has virtual workouts with the Eagles and will do his weightlifting online.

“We’re going to be excited,” Perkins said of when everything will get back to some type of normalcy. “Hopefully, everything goes as planned and we can start on time. I think everybody is going to be excited, maybe even a little refreshed just because we haven’t played in a while. Usually we’re in OTA’s right know, grinding it out.”

Perkins is still getting, as he puts it, ‘my good work in’. and sometimes he’ll go to a friend’s house who has a little gym set up, or he’ll go to his former University of Washington quarterback’s house to catch passes and go over drills he needs to do. In addition, he still keeps in contact with his childhood friend Dwayne Washington, who was his high school and college teammate.

“That’s my guy,” Perkins said. “We’ve been down this road for a long time, so we always get a good work in. He lives a little farther out now, so we don’t get to work [together] as much as we used to. But we always run and…I’ll do anything for him. I’m sure he would do the same for me.”

As for the upcoming season, which is slated to being on time in September, Perkins said he is looking forward to playing the New Orleans Saints, especially since Washington was talking trash to him when the teams met in the 2018 playoffs. He added that he’s anxious to get his bragging rights back. He is also anxious to be playing the San Francisco 49ers and the Arizona Cardinals because those games will be on the road and closer to home where he’ll have more family in attendance.

“Philly is definitely a very hard-working city; it’s a hard-working team,” Perkins said. “They go hand in hand with each other. It’s a very good attention to detail over there. The fans will let you know how they feel. So, [they’re] definitely the best fans in the world, honestly, because they’re passionate about their teams.”