Kevon Seymour was out of the NFL and working at an auto customizing shop. Now he’s an Eagles corner.
Injuries kept Seymour sidelined from 2017 until last week, when the Eagles needed him to fill the injury void against the Saints.
Jeremy Logsdon, owner of an auto customizing shop in Charlotte, N.C., was home wrapping Christmas presents Sunday, with the Saints-Eagles game on TV in the background.
Logsdon heard a familiar name. Kevon Seymour, signed to the Eagles’ practice squad on Dec. 2, and then called up to play against New Orleans, made a special-teams tackle. As the game went on, injuries dictated that Seymour’s first Eagles game -- also his first NFL game since 2017 -- would include 35 snaps at cornerback.
“To hear his name on the national stage again was really exciting,” Logsdon said. He said the gift-wrapping took a backseat for a while. “It was nice to be able to watch, and see him back doing what he loves, man; he was so passionate.”
Logsdon first knew Seymour as one of several Carolina Panthers who brought cars to Logsdon’s shop, the Wheel & Tire Exchange. Eventually, with Seymour recovering from surgery on both shoulders that took away his 2018 season, and then from wrist surgery that kept him off the field and without a contract in 2019, Logsdon knew Seymour as an employee.
Seymour, 27, a 2016 sixth-round draft pick of the Buffalo Bills from USC, worked a year or so as a salesman for Logsdon, to provide for his wife and three children, while Seymour also bought a gym membership to substitute for a practice facility, and fought to keep his football career alive.
“They actually gave me a job,” Seymour said Thursday. “I was doing something other than football, doing something I loved. Working with customers and interacting with people. I was doing that just to kind of keep my mind free, keep my mind free and clear, [to keep from] getting caught up on the actual situation … where I was and how things weren’t going the way I wanted them to go. I was trying to stay as positive as possible by getting out and doing things.
“It was like work, but it wasn’t.”
Seymour, traded from the Bills to the Panthers in 2017, played in 31 NFL games in the 2016 and ’17 seasons, starting five, before the injuries piled up.
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“Really good dude,” former Eagles wide receiver Torrey Smith recalled Thursday. Smith played with Seymour on the Panthers in 2018 and was released by them at the same time in September 2019. “He worked extremely hard. Asked a lot of questions. He’s a guy that really gets it. We used to have a lot of conversations beyond the game.”
Eagles safety/corner Jalen Mills also mentioned how Seymour asked questions, which is something you have to do when you’re coming to a team in December and trying to learn the defense quickly.
Seymour might play a big role this weekend at Arizona, against DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk, and Larry Fitzgerald. The Eagles will be missing corner Avonte Maddox (knee) and the other starting corner, Darius Slay, is still working his way through the concussion protocol.
“Asking so many questions – how can he line up this way? How do we play this? Why do we do this? Why do we do that? When you see that in a guy – he told me he’s been out of football for two years – that lets you know that he’s not satisfied with just being here,” Mills said Thursday. “He’s a guy who wants to keep elevating his game.”
“It’s been a journey,” Seymour allowed. “I just want to give thanks to God just for giving me the opportunity. I was at a low, hit rock bottom. But I’m from rock bottom, so to hit rock bottom, it was nothing new.”
Seymour said a big concern, as he struggled to save his career, was “just giving my kids a better life than I had, and having a two-parent household, something I didn’t have growing up [in Pasadena, Calif.]. All that stuff was going through my head during that time. Because this is my first time actually, like sitting down, being home, and it was up to me to continue my training.
“I could have just given up. I got my degree, me and my wife, we have our degrees. I could have gone a different route – ‘It’s over, no hope, the way this year’s going.’ But I always kept faith and I just kept on believing and God gave me the opportunity [with the Eagles] and I just took advantage of it.”
Logsdon said the idea of Seymour’s going to work at the shop came up before Seymour actually needed a job. He said Seymour – who noted Thursday that “I’m into cars” -- liked to hang around the shop, and was outgoing. He would strike up conversations with other customers, would give them his thoughts on what they might want to do with their cars. When Logsdon and sales manager Greg Mitchell went out to meet the new customer, they’d find they had already made a sale. They would joke that Seymour should go to work there.
“He was a good visionary” for how custom work would look, Logsdon said. “At one point he told us, ‘Hey, man. Things didn’t work out entirely the way I thought. This little injury I’m working through – you guys need any help?’” Logsdon said he didn’t hesitate to say yes.
The job was mostly sales, but Logsdon said Seymour “would be the first guy to open a hood and yank a performance part off the top of the engine,” and “wasn’t scared to grab a jack if he needed to. … He earned his keep.”
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Logsdon was always clear that Seymour, 6-feet, 186, wanted to get back to the NFL. During slow times at the shop, he would do exercises. The guys at the shop knew he had joined the Eagles’ practice squad, didn’t know he would play so soon.
Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said secondary coach Marquand Manuel quickly tried to get Seymour up to speed, as first Maddox and then Slay left the field.
“Key came in, and we were actually, like, putting some stuff in on the sideline,” Schwartz said. “It was like, ‘All right, we’re going to need to do this,’ and he was sort of processing it in his own way on the sideline. I thought that Marquand did a really good job of communicating with him during the game, communicating back to me what we were comfortable with in the game plan, what he was comfortable with.”
Schwartz said he liked that Seymour didn’t let giving up a touchdown to Emmanuel Sanders bother him.
“Came back and continued to battle and played physical football. I was proud of him for that. It was a great step for his career,” Schwartz said. “He’d sort of been sidetracked a little bit, but to get back on the field and play winning football, that’s a real tip of the cap to him, staying ready, keeping his faith through some tough times, and he was rewarded for that, and we were rewarded for that.”
Logsdon said he doesn’t want to bother Seymour while he’s getting acclimated with the Eagles, but he’d really like to “break his stones” about giving up the touchdown.
“I can hear him right now – ‘He got lucky! That won’t happen again!’ " Logsdon said.