PHILADELPHIA -- Eli Ricks patiently waited for the Philadelphia Eagles to determine his roster fate. As the hours on roster cutdown day waned, Ricks was trying not to think about his situation -- finding all kinds of ways to pass the time.
"I took a fat nap in the morning," Ricks said with a smile. "Then from like 1 to 4 (p.m.), I just had my ringer on just waiting."
Ricks didn't find out he made the Eagles until 3:50 p.m., getting the call from general manager Howie Roseman that he deserved his spot on the 53-man roster. The only rookie undrafted free agent to make the team.
The words were unique from Roseman, showing how much the Eagles valued Ricks on this team.
"He told me when I first got here there should be no reason why you shouldn't make this 53," Ricks said. "I held onto that this whole time during camp, during this whole process even when I got some doubts. I knew what he told me at the start of camp so I just kept it."
Those doubts that Ricks had crept up on him throughout the month, knowing he needed to play well in the preseason to make the roster. Ricks didn't have the opportunity in camp to make those plays, which is where the preseason success factored into the equation.
"It was really just me worried about if I could show my ability because I'm not the first guy going out there on the field," Ricks said. "And I knew when I got into the game, I was gonna have the opportunity -- and I took it."
When Ricks did get the opportunity to showcase his skill set in the preseason, opposing quarterbacks needed to think twice before challenging him. Ricks allowed just six completions on 17 attempts for 89 yards in three preseason games, having an interception returned for a score and four pass breakups. He did allow a touchdown pass, yet opposing quarterbacks had a 39.1 passer rating when targeting him.
The preseason success was what got Ricks onto the Eagles 53-man roster.
"I came in with that mindset," Ricks said. "Whenever I do practice or play in a game, I have to make a play."
Mario Goodrich can relate to Ricks' situation, making the team as a former undrafted free agent himself. Goodrich didn't make the Eagles 53-man roster in his rookie season, but knew Ricks had the ability to defy the odds from the get go.
"Eli a dawg. I'm excited for him and seeing where he's gonna go," Goodrich said. "The ball skills, putting his hands on guys. Tenacity. Like I said, dawg. He got a chip on his shoulder. As a corner, you gotta have some type of aggression."
All Ricks wanted was to finish where he started. He'll get that chance in Philadelphia, a place he hopes to call home for a long time.
"I've been to a lot of places since leaving for IMG (Academy) when I was 16," Ricks said. "LSU, Alabama. I lived a lot of places, so me not knowing where I was gonna be at, where I was gonna live, it meant nothing to me as long as I was playing football.
"I'm glad it was here. I wanted it to be here."