Hall of Famer Troy Aikman spent his entire illustrious career with the Dallas Cowboys, but it came to prematurely end after he dealt with a flurry of concussions in final years. It was an abrupt close to his playing days, but Aikman has recently aired out that the had opportunities to continue his career with other franchises in the few years that followed his time with the Cowboys. One of those instances nearly came with the Philadelphia Eagles that could have changed the last chapter of his career.
Troy Aikman’s NFL career
Following a productive collegiate career at UCLA, Aikman was drafted first overall by the Cowboys, where he spent his entire 11-year career with the team.
That featured plenty of ups such as winning three Super Bowls, a Super Bowl MVP, and six Pro Bowl selections, eight playoff appearances, six NFC East division titles and four trips to the conference championship game.
However, the latter part of his NFL career wasn’t as prosperous as the Cowboys struggled to find success as his last four years saw the team win more than eight games just once with a pair tallying below the .500 mark.
Aikman’s final season in 2000 saw him deal with concussions while he had had a nagging back issue that cut his last campaign short. In the years that followed, he voiced that it was injuries that put an end to his career sooner than expected. However, it appears that Aikman still had his chance to return with the Eagles among other teams.
Troy Aikman nearly became an Eagle
In the first few years that have followed the end of Aikman’s NFL career, he had a few chances to return to the field.
According to Sam Farmer of the LA Times, Aikman voiced that he had a chance to join his former offensive coordinator Norv Turner with the then-San Diego Chargers. That was followed a year later while working in the broadcast booth for an Eagles game that saw then-head coach Andy Reid reaching out to Aikman at halftime of one of the games.
It looked like he might have broken his ankle. All of a sudden, a producer says in my ear, “Hey, I need you to call somebody at halftime.” I said, “What?” He had never done that. He gave me a number and said, “It’s Andy Reid,” who was coach of the Eagles.
I stepped out of the booth and called Andy, and he explained the situation. He said, “Hey, we’re playing in San Francisco on Monday night, and you’ll be the starter.” I said, “Andy, I haven’t played in two years.” He says, “You’ll be all right.”
I told him I didn’t even know the offense, and he says, “That’s OK. Same concepts. We’ll make it work. You’ll be fine.”
Aikman stated that he needed time to think over the potential opportunity with Philadelphia, which he wound up choosing to stay retired. It would have been quite entertaining to see Aikman put on another team’s uniform, especially one of the Cowboys’ rivals.
McNabb had missed the final six games of the season due to a broken ankle, which could have seen him step to lead the Eagles to playoffs. Instead, they went with third-string quarterback A.J. Feely, who led them to a postseason berth, to which McNabb returned for the postseason.
What could have been for Troy Aikman
Aikman also had a chance to play with the Miami Dolphins not long after that with Turner, but he decided to stay in retirement.
Any of these possible moves to return to the NFL would have drawn plenty of headlines. There is no telling what type of player he would have been at that stage of his career, but it would have added an intriguing chapter.
Ultimately, it will go down to being one of those “what if” situations that we’ll never know the answer to how it would have unfolded.