Merrill Reese visits NE Chamber of Commerce

The Eagles radio broadcaster to discuss their recent champion season, and what’s to come for the team.

Fly, Eagles, Fly: Merrill Reese spoke about the Eagles’ historic Super Bowl victory during a breakfast at the Philadelphia Protestant Home last week. He was joined by Steve and Calvin Clement — Corey Clement’s father and grandfather — at the July 10 event. TOM WARING / TIMES PHOTO

When Eagles radio broadcaster Merrill Reese appeared last July at a Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce luncheon, he believed the team would make the playoffs, but not the Super Bowl.

Of course, the Eagles won Super Bowl LII behind Most Valuable Player Nick Foles.

Reese was back for breakfast last week at the Philadelphia Protestant Home, and was happy to be wrong. He didn’t make a prediction on whether the Eagles would repeat as champions, but did say he liked what he saw at organized team activities.

“Carson Wentz looks great, he really does,” Reese told member of the Greater Northeast Philadelphia and Eastern Montgomery County Chambers of Commerce.

Wentz injured his left knee late last season and missed the playoffs, and Foles stepped in to quarterback the team to the title.

Reese, who is about to enter his 42nd year in the booth, said it will be up to the team’s medical staff to determine when the knee is strong enough to sustain a hit.

“It would not surprise me to see Nick Foles start the first three or four games,” he said.

Looking back to last season, Reese said injuries to Wentz, Jason Peters, Darren Sproles, Jordan Hicks, Chris Maragos and Caleb Sturgis should have limited the Eagles to five or six victories.

The broadcaster pointed to a couple of newcomers as reasons the team excelled.

One was Corey Clement. Reese said it is “mind boggling” that Clement, who grew up in Glassboro, New Jersey, was not drafted out of Wisconsin. Clement caught a touchdown pass in the Super Bowl.

Steve Clement, his dad, and Calvin Clement, his grandfather, attended the July 10 breakfast, each wearing an Eagles №30 jersey.

“He’s a great young man, a credit to his family,” Reese said.

Reese also praised LeGarrette Blount, who left the New England Patriots before the 2017 season to sign a contract with the Eagles.

Initially, Reese did not like Blount because of a much-publicized incident when he sucker-punched a Boise State player while playing for Oregon. He hoped Blount would not be a bad influence, like he believed Terrell Owens was.

But after Reese called Blount a “runaway train” following a long run against the Los Angeles Chargers early last season, the running back told him how much he loved the name.

Fast forward to the eve of the Super Bowl, and Blount saw Reese wearing his NFC championship ring from 2005.

“That’s a losers’ ring,” said Blount, a member of two Super Bowl-champion teams with New England. “I am getting you a real ring tomorrow.”

Reese wore that real ring during last week’s address.

“LeGarrette Blount turned out to be one of the greatest people you’d ever want to meet,” he said.

Reese played the audio of his calls during the Super Bowl, including a touchdown run by Blount, who has since signed with the Detroit Lions.

Reese also played the successful “Philly Special,” jokingly telling the crowd that he came up with the trick play. He acknowledged thinking to himself before the fourth-down trick play that, “They’ve got to take the three points,” before rejoicing when Clement took the snap and flipped to tight end Trey Burton, who found a wide-open Foles in the end zone for a touchdown.

Another audio clip was Jake Elliott’s clutch field goal to give the Eagles a 41–33 lead over the Patriots, with Reese screaming, “Goooooooooood.”

Reese was seated in the opposite end zone for Tom Brady’s Hail Mary pass, and when the ball fell to the ground, he said, “Eagles fans everywhere, this is for you. Let the celebration begin,” leading to applause from Chamber of Commerce members.

After his remarks, he asked trivia questions and awarded prizes, such as autographed pictures and a CD of his greatest calls. WBCB (1490 AM), co-owned by Reese, distributed door prizes.

Sept. 6, when the champs host the Atlanta Falcons in the season opener, can’t come soon enough for Reese. He likes the offensive line, led by Peters, Lane Johnson and Jason Kelce. He thinks the Eagles will miss players Blount, Torrey Smith, Brent Celek and Beau Allen and assistant coaches Frank Reich and John DeFilippo, but believes a healthy Wentz will keep them strong.

Reese has loved every year in the booth, especially the one that ended with a Super Bowl victory.

“I have the greatest job in the world,” he said. “I just signed a long-term contract. I want to do it forever.” ••

IN OTHER PPH NEWS…

The Philadelphia Protestant Home will hold its 13th annual gala for benevolent care on Friday, Sept. 28, from 6:30 to 11:30 p.m. at the Philadelphia Ballroom, 2014 Hornig Road. The evening will include dinner, dancing, door prizes, a silent auction, raffles and a 50–50.

For more information, go to pphfamily.org/gala ••