The football gods seem to insist that Matt McGloin and Stephen Wisniewski cross paths on the gridiron.
The two were among the last recruited players under Joe Patorno’s Penn State regime and played together during a very important stage in the history of the Nittany Lion program. They played together in Oakland after each started an NFL career, and this spring were reuinted for a third time back in Pennsylvania with the Eagles.
After playing one full season with the Eagles as a backup and starter, Wisniewski said he wanted to find a place to both start and remain for a long period of time. Whether or not he ascends to start in a deep, crowded offensive line group remains to be seen, but he did sign a three-year deal this past offseason. McGloin started a few games last season in Oakland after Derek Carr’s late-season injury derailed an impressive season. He signed a one-year deal and will serve as a third-stringer and potential mentor for Carson Wentz, sharing back up duties with Nick Foles.
“It’s a very healthy quarterback room with Nick and Carson,” McGloin said Monday after his first day of training camp in South Philly, “and an opportunity to work with [quarterbacks coach] John DeFilippo again and [offensive coordinator] Frank Reich and [head coach] Doug [Pederson]. It’s a quarterback heavy staff.”
“I think it’s important you have that veteran presence, veteran quarterback as a backup,” Pederson said. “Obviously I was there at one point in my career. I think it’s just a valuable guy. Matt McGloin who is a veteran quarterback who has played in this league.”
For McGloin, having one of his old college buddies — and one of the best offensive linemen in Nittany Lions history to share a locker room with — is certainly a plus as he returns to the state that made him who he is today.
“I played with Wiz at Penn State, I took snaps from him,” McGloin said. “I played with Wiz in Oakland and took some snaps with him this year in OTAs and minicamp. It’s a bonus to play with him. That guy, he’s a really smart person, a great guy and football player.”
The pair were able to wear their Penn State pride loudly last fall, as they watched their college team return to national prominence as they nearly shocked USC in a shootout at the Rose Bowl, a 52-49 Trojan victory. McGloin is optimistic about next season with many key players coming back.
“It’s great to see where the program is at,” the quarterback said. “It’s great to see those kids buying into what [PSU head coach] James Franklin has in store for them. I am looking forward to 2017.”