Eagles’ Rodney McLeod talks mental health, Jalen Hurts and leadership

Eagles free safety Rodney McLeod says he's excited about Philadelphia's draft haul. Bill Streicher/USA Today Sports

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As part of their multifaceted Inspire Change initiative, Philadelphia Eagles safety Rodney McLeod and his wife, Erika, recently held a mental health forum for teenagers across iHeartMedia platforms. The music was stopped on all Philadelphia-area stations and streaming services for one hour so the assembled panel could talk about mental health issues in the youth community amid the coronavirus pandemic.

It was not McLeod’s only takeover this season. With the departure of Malcolm Jenkins in free agency, McLeod has elevated to a senior leadership position on the Eagles’ defense. And he’s stepped up on the social justice front as well, looking to maintain the high standards Jenkins helped create for community outreach.

ESPN spoke to McLeod about his on- and off-field promotions, the Eagles’ decision to draft quarterback Jalen Hurts in the second round, and other team-related developments during this most unique offseason.

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THAT INTERVIEW ON ESPN.COM

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There were times, Rodney McLeod admits now, when he wasn’t sure “I had it in me” to recover from a torn ACL suffered in December 2020 in time to play during the 2021 Eagles season. The long hours of rehab that translated to mini-steps of recovery seemed like such a mountain to climb for McLeod, who had suffered the same injury in 2018 and also had come back from a rotator cuff injury a season later.

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