Greg Ward’s clutch performance during the Eagles’ win over the Redskins on Sunday has garnered a heap of praise, including from one of the NFL’s top quarterbacks.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, last year’s NFL MVP, was among those to celebrate Ward’s performance on Twitter, sharing several highlights and posts about his unlikely road to becoming a starting wide receiver for the Eagles.
Ward had seven catches during Sunday’s win, capped by his four-yard touchdown grab with just 26 seconds left in the game, which proved to be the game winner. Ward’s success filling in for his injured teammates over the past few weeks culminates an unlikely path to the NFL — going undrafted out of the University of Houston, converting from quarterback to wide receiver, spending time on the Eagles practice squad, and playing in the short-lived Alliance of American Football.
“I’m just truly blessed,’’ Ward told my colleague Paul Domowitch. “I’ve been through a lot, but I’m here now and that’s all that matters.’’
Ward and Mahomes share a bit of history with one another. The two were both born and raised in Tyler, Texas, and were fierce high school rivals — Mahomes attended Whitehouse High School, while Ward went to John Tyler High School.
In fact, it was Ward who outplayed Mahomes in the District 16-4A championship game in 2012, leading John Tyler to a 45-38 win over Whitehouse. Ward, a senior at the time, was named the Texas high school player of the year after throwing for 4,202 yards and 39 touchdowns. According to 247Sports recruiting analyst Gabe Brookes, it was that loss to Ward that “spring-boarded” Mahomes into his standout senior year, where he put up over 5,500 yards of total offense.
Mahomes wasn’t the only quarterback to praise Ward’s performance. Carson Wentz told reporters following Sunday’s win he couldn’t say enough good things about his new target.
“For him to keep coming up big late in the game like that, they went to man coverage and he just kept beating his guy. He was part of the progression and just kept making plays. And then, to go up and get that ball in the end zone like that, that was sweet," Wentz said.