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Duce Staley is the Ace of the Eagles

The 1998 season for the Eagles is one that many fans would like to forget.  They finished the season with a 3-13 record.  It was their most losses in a season in their history.  Though it was a dismal season, there was a couple of bright spots, and the one that shined the most was Duce Staley.  He went from an unseasoned second-year player to a 1,000-yard rusher for the Eagles.

Training camp opened in mid-July for the Eagles, and Charlie Garner was slated as the starting running back.   The Eagles did not pursue Ricky Watters for a new contract, and he flew to another coup in Seattle.  So the new backfield would be split between Garner and Duce.   Garner would see the main part of the rushing attack, and Duce would be in there to spell during the game.  By the end of preseason, things would change.

In the last preseason game, Garner suffered an ankle injury, and forced the Eagles to start Duce.  In the season opener, the Eagles were crushed by Seattle, but Staley rushed for 95 yards on 20 carries.  For many Eagles fans, they felt a star was born.   The thing that became amazing about Staley reaching the 1,000-yard plateau was he did not start all the games, he was limited to single-digit carries in a couple of games, and he played most of the season with a hernia.  To add to his rushing totals, Staley was the leading receiver for the Eagles, too.  He gained almost 1,500 yards in total offense for the Eagles.  He made many of the Eagles fans forget about #32.

While Staley was amassing these yards, the media and fans were more interested in the Eagles #1 draft pick in April.  The distressing part of it, the media and fans were talking about University of Texas running back, Ricky Williams.  Through it all, Staley had maintained.

For all that Staley provided to the Eagles, he was rewarded with his selection as the Offensive MVP for the Eagles, voted by the Eagles players, and the Eagles MVP by Eagles Digest.  Now it will be time for him to prepare for next season with a new head coach, but with his old running back coach.

The past season is now dreaded history, but Duce shined a light to a bright future with his outstanding play, and now we will be hoping for more next season.  The fans will want duces wild.


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