By Dave Zangaro | CSNPhilly.com
Last Sunday was a new experience for Eagles guard Chance Warmack.
For the first time in eight years, since his freshman season at Alabama in 2009, Warmack was healthy and not playing.
“Yeah, it was weird,” Warmack said. “But you gotta take positives from everything and continue to learn. I learned a few things that day that I would have never gotten to experience.”
While the rest of his teammates suited up to play against Washington in the opener, Warmack stood on the sideline in street clothes and watched. He was inactive.
Honestly, it wasn’t really that big of a shocker. After all, the Eagles kept eight offensive linemen and heading into the game, head coach Doug Pederson said he was going to keep just seven active. The Eagles kept the five starters and Halapoulivaati Vaitai and Stephen Wisniewski active. Big V acted as the Eagles’ backup tackle and Wisniewski offers them flexibility at center and guard.
So Warmack was the odd man out. And it was kind of odd for him.
Since he entered the league in 2013, he has played in and started 48 games. He’s missed time for injuries, but he’s never not played when healthy. And at Alabama, he started his final 40 games at left guard.
Warmack, 26, understands his position on the team, but he doesn’t let it affect the way he prepares. A lot of players say that but it seems like Warmack really means it.
“You never know,” he said. “Everything happens so fast, you just have to prepare like you’re going to play every week. And if they don’t ask that of you, you just go back to the same thing every week.”
During the week of practice, the veteran guard said he just tried to help the Eagles as much as he could in practice. On the scout team, he was happy to give whatever type of looks they needed.
Back on Sept. 2, the Eagles actually gave Warmack an extension. He originally signed a one-year deal to be reunited with his college position coach Jeff Stoutland, an attempt to re-find the magic that once made him the 10th overall pick in 2013, but he’s now under contract through the 2018 season.
As soon as the news of the contract extension broke, it was easy to jump to conclusions. Obviously, the Eagles see Warmack as a potential starter next season. Perhaps Jason Kelce will be gone and Isaac Seumalo will slide into the center spot, leaving a vacancy at left guard. Really, that would be a perfect situation for Warmack.
But in the same way, he doesn’t worry about whether or not he’ll be active week to week, he doesn’t concern himself with what the contract extension might mean for him long-term.
“When you play this game long enough, you don’t read into those things,” Warmack said. “You acknowledge them. ‘Thank you. It’s a blessing.’ And then you continue to work for whatever reason it is, at whatever situation you’re at. It don’t matter. When they call your name, you’ll be ready and you go out there and do your job.”
Those are easy things to say but much harder to do. How can a player just completely push it out of his mind? It’s his future, after all.
Warmack claims he’s always been that way. It wasn’t something he had to learn once he got to the NFL. He acknowledges that it sounds cliche, but he worries about himself.
“I’ve just always been focused on me,” he said. “Whenever you start focusing on things you can’t control or other people, you’re going the wrong way because those things you can’t control, you’re just wasting time thinking about things that may or may not happen. The only thing I can control is what Chance does. That’s what I’m gonna do.”