Talon Scout: Making Sure the Eagles Fly High


Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman has a bird’s-eye view of life and knows just how important the team is to its fans.

Howie Roseman’s four young children don’t have to look too far for proof that it is possible to follow their dreams to fruition. Their father knew since he was a child himself, following his beloved New York Jets teams of the 1980s, that he wanted to be the general manager of a football team. He was named the general manager of the Eagles in 2009 at age 34; five years later, he is still the youngest GM in the NFL.

Of course, they also won’t have to look far to see the value of perseverance. The son of two teachers, Roseman’s dogged pursuit of a career in the NFL began while he was in high school and continued through college at the University of Florida and law school at Fordham. He repeatedly wrote and cold-called every team in the league until he was finally given an unpaid internship with the Eagles in 2000. He quickly advanced from sharing a corner of an administrative assistant’s desk to ledership roles in football administration and vice president of player personnel before assuming the GM role.

The member of Har Zion Temple has come a long way from watching childhood idols like Dick Steinberg and George Young, the general managers of the Jets and Giants, respectively, in the 1980s on the family television in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn and later, in Marlboro, N.J. In the following conversation, which has been edited and condensed from a longer interview, he discusses football, family and following your dreams.

Are there any lessons you learned as a childhood Jets fan that have stuck with you?

The great thing about sports is that there is always a “next season” — there is always something to get focused on to get better.

You worked so hard for so long to get your foot in the door. What is it like for you to walk through the NovaCare doors today?

It’s an unbelievable feeling. I recently told one of my sons, “I gotta go to work.” He said to me, “You don’t go to work — you watch football!” The best jobs don’t feel like you’re going to work.

The Eagles organization practices tikkun olam on a large scale, from building playgrounds to vision testing to literacy through the Eagles Youth Partnership. When you are looking at a potential roster addition, is a player’s commitment to community involvement a factor for you?

Sure — it speaks to a person’s character. When you get a job in the National Football League, you are extrmemely fortunate — are you willing to give back to the people who aren’t as fortunate?

Do you participate in tikkun olam?

I’m involved with the military — we bring service members to the games. I’m also a spokesperson for the Boys & Girls Clubs and am on the Kipp Philadelphia Charter Schools Leadership Council.

There are only 32 NFL general manager jobs in the world. Is it a fraternity or a shark tank?

I have relationships with all of those guys — we have conversations by email, phone, we all pull for one another — and we try not to get kicked out of it.

What do you tell your children about deciding what to be when they grow up?

Pick something you’re passionate about and follow your dreams.

What is the one thing you wish Eagles fans knew about you?

About how fortunate we are to be part of this organization, and that we have emotions. We feel like they feel, and we have incredible passion for this team.

Greg Salisbury still remembers his first Eagles game — Nov. 16, 1986 at the Vet, 13-11 loss to the Lions — mostly for the 700 level. This article originally appeared in Inside Magazine, a Jewish Exponent publication.


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