Lehigh’s Shafnisky gets shot with Eagles
It’s the opportunity that only a small percentage of the population gets, but former Lehigh quarterback and Whitehall product Nick Shafnisky will get his shot at building his NFL resume when he arrives at the NovaCare Complex for a rookie minicamp with the Philadelphia Eagles this week.
Shafnisky will report on Thursday for a night meeting, before hitting the field on Friday through Sunday for a chance to impress and gain a contract to become apart of the Eagles 90-man offseason roster.
With nearly 60 players in attendance from the Eagles 2017 draft class, as well their undrafted free agent class, Shafnisky’s invite to the camp is the opportunity he’s been waiting for.
“I’m really excited for the opportunity and looking forward to showing what I can do,” said Shafnisky. “It’ll definitely be cool to put the pads on again. I just know I’ll have to take advantage of all my reps.”
Taking advantage of being back on the field is something that Shafnisky understands will determine his fate in the landscape of the dog-eat-dog world of the NFL.
His path to the league would have been much different had he been able to participate in the FCS Bowl in December. However, after going for a run in November before the Lafayette game, a tick found its way onto Shafnisky and struck him with Lyme disease. He was ruled out for the Mountain Hawks FCS playoff game against New Hampshire, a subsequent 64-21 loss, and it also ruled him out of the FCS Bowl, a major opportunity for exposure amongst NFL scouts for smaller school players.
“It was tough as hell going through that,” said Shafnisky of his bout with Lyme disease. “I had no energy, no strength. A lot of things would have been different if that didn’t happen, but there’s nothing I can do about that anymore.”
This week’s camp is essentially an opportunity for him to show his skills, not only to the Eagles, but the rest of the NFL. He was named the Patriot League offensive player of the year last season and leaves Lehigh with 7,464 yards and 54 TD passes in 42 career. He also ran for 1,611 yards and 30 TD’s as well.
The Eagles will certainly take a look at his arm in camp, but they’ll also test him out at safety and on special teams.
“I know they’re going to put me through a whole bunch of athletic type of drills at safety and wide receiver,” he said. “I’m definitely going to throw too. They’re going to throw everything at me and see how I respond.”
Listed at 6-foot-1, 220 pounds, Shafnisky has received interest from the Jets and 49ers too.
Nobody knows what will transpire from this weekend’s camp, but invited players, like Shafnisky, sign contracts with teams following rookie minicamps every year in the NFL.
He hopes he’s one of the few that achieve that.
“I’m going to do whatever it takes to help myself get signed,” Shafnisky said. “I know the Eagles like my athletic ability, flexibility and my hips. I think mentally, I’ll be more prepared than a lot of the guys in the camp. I’m just going to give everything I can.”