Pennsylvania

Why did Brett Kern sign with the Eagles?

When Brett Kern was presented with the opportunity to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles as the team’s new punter, he knew immediately it was a perfect fit – he packed his bags in Tennesse shortly after receiving the call from his agent.

“In my mind I knew I would play again. I just didn’t know where or when, but I knew I still wanted to keep playing. So I stayed mentally ready, physically ready, just for every opportunity that came up, and I’m very grateful for that,” Kern said on Wednesday.

It’s not just because the Eagles are a hot 12-1 team with a secured playoff berth and Super Bowl aspirations, or because his 13-year-old son Bryce Jalen Hurts as quarterback in his fantasy football lineup Has. Kern attributed much of his decision to past relationships with players and staff across the organization.

“The decision to come here was obviously a no-brainer because of the season you’re all having but also because of the familiarity with a lot of people on the team and some of the players and because you know Jake (Elliott) and Rick (Lovato). .”

The 6’2, 36-year-old punter was signed by the Broncos in 2008 as an undrafted free agent. He remained in Denver until his release in October 2009. His next and longest stop was Tennessee, where he finished with 923 career tries making him the organization’s all-time leading player. He is also the team’s all-time career leader in gross rushing average (45.9 yards), net rushing average (40.8), and punts placed inside the 20-yard line (373). His resume earned him three consecutive Pro Bowl appearances from 2017-2019. He was released earlier in the season when the team signed Ryan Stonehouse, a younger and less expensive 23-year-old rookie.

In Tennessee, he met several people who now work at the NovaCare Complex, including wide receiver AJ Brown and senior athletic trainer Jerome Reid, among others.

His reunion with Brown was very welcome – Kern admitted he was disappointed to see him go when he was traded to the Eagles during the 2022 draft.

“When I found out that AJ was traded here I was really sad because he is a great teammate and a good friend. I had a lot of conversations with him in the dressing room and cracked jokes,” said Kern.

“To be able to come here and know that AJ was here — I saw him this morning, hugged him tight and caught up a bit.”

Another name on this list is head coach Nick Sirianni. Kern said his father, Cal — the president and owner of the Niagara Power, an amateur baseball team, and the New York State director of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes — knew Sirianni’s father, Fran, who is from Jamestown, through her western New York -Connection .

“It’s great to come somewhere where you know faces, you know people. That makes it a little bit easier,” Kern said.

Though he has yet to punt or hold this season, Kern says he’s ready to get back out there.

“Once you’re on the football field, you just go back to what you’ve been doing for a long time,” he said.

“I’m going to ask Jake what he likes and it should probably take me a minute, two minutes to figure it out.”

Kern will make his Eagles debut on Sunday against the Chicago Bears.

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