Minneapolis, MN - Ronald Darby is going to finish his season in the Super Bowl, but it was a long, hard road to get there.
Six months ago, Darby was a promising young cornerback for the Bills. Sean McDermott apparently didn't think he was promising enough and shipped Darby to the Eagles for Jordan Matthews and a third round pick during training camp.
The next few months were an ordeal, in large part because Darby suffered a gruesome dislocated ankle in his first game with the Eagles.
He returned just before Thanksgiving and has played Philadelphia's last nine games, including the playoffs. He's made three interceptions.
At Super Bowl Opening Night, Darby acknowledged this season has been educational.
"In order to survive this business, you've got to be able to adapt," Darby said. "Me being in Buffalo, getting new coaches, learning a whole new defensive scheme and getting traded in the middle of camp, it was a lot. I had to go in and try to learn a whole other playbook in a few weeks. Then, I get hurt week one. Sit out two months and then, come back trying to catch up to the pace that (his teammates have) been playing on, guys that have been broken in. It was a lot. It taught me a lot. And we made it here, so it's a crazy journey."
Stephon Gilmore is happy to see Darby's journey end with a big positive. According to Daniel Gallen from PennLive.com, Gilmore hasn't kept up much with his former teammate's season after signing with the Patriots last offseason.
They might catch up a bit if they meet before the Super Bowl on the field Sunday. "It's cool to see a friend living out their dreams, too," Gilmore said.
Those dreams would not have been possible if McDermott wanted to keep them in Buffalo. Gilmore thinks the reason lies with a Higher Authority.
"I guess God didn't want it to work out."
Darby isn't the only former Bill in the Philly secondary. Corey Graham signed with the Eagles after the Bills released him in March. He's played all but two games as a reserve safety this season. Graham's NFC Championship interception was his third of the season.
Graham said it was helpful to see so many former teammates when he arrived in Philadelphia.
"Whenever you go to a new team and you've got guys there that you've already fought with on the field, guys that you can count on, guys that you can talk to, that can help you get more acclimated to the new city," Graham said. "When I came here, Nigel (Bradham) was one the first guys, him and Ron Brooks, that I talked to that helped me get situated."
The Buffalo native called his three seasons to play for the Bills "amazing" and he smiled when discussing how Buffalo's season ended this year.
"I wanted to end the playoff drought and find a way to get in there when I was there, but I was so happy to see them do that this year," Graham said. "I was so happy for those guys. I wish I was there to get it done with them, but I'm glad to be in the situation I'm in now."
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