PHILADELPHIA – The Thanksgiving holiday is a hectic time for anyone as travel plans are set in advance, as well as which family member is hosting dinner.
It was no different for newest Eagles defensive tackles Linval Joseph, who’s 34, and Ndamukong Suh, 35. Up until a week ago, Joseph was home in Gainesville, Florida, and he had planned to fly in his mother from Houston to be with him , his wife and two daughters. Then the Eagles signed him last Wednesday.
“I was going to do it in Florida this year, with a lot of family,” Joseph said about the holiday. “That changed. I made the (original) flights, made the reservations. I had to cancel everything and switch it to here. But it’s very important to spend the holidays with family.”
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It was the same with Suh, who is married with twin sons who are 19 months old. He was planning a Thanksgiving feast at his home near Tampa. Then the Eagles called last Thursday. So Suh had his family come to Philadelphia.
“A lot has changed,” Suh said about the past week. “I don’t know 100% what our plans are, other than kind of getting our place in order from that standpoint. I’m just focusing on football at this point in time. I’m used to not really being able to celebrate holidays in the winter months.”
Both players, drafted in 2010, made their Eagles debut last Sunday in the 17-16 win over the Indianapolis Colts after not having played in a game, or practiced with a team, since last January.
Yet the two shared a sack on Colts quarterback Matt Ryan, and they’ll next go after Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers on Sunday night.
Both have plenty of experience in that regard. Suh spent his first five seasons with the Detroit Lions, facing Rodgers twice each season. He also went against him in each of the last three seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In all, Suh has 5½ sacks against Rodgers.
Joseph also went against Rodgers twice each season when he was with the Vikings from 2015-19. He has 2½ sacks against Rodgers.
“They’re not enough,” Suh said of his sacks. “I’m trying to add that tally up a little more. But Aaron is very, very smart. He gets rid of the ball. He’ll run to the sideline, then look at you and laugh as he throws the ball out of bounds so you can’t get a sack. He knows what he’s doing.”
But Suh also has other things on his mind besides tackling quarterbacks. He’s also tackling financial literacy for those not as fortunate as him.
Suh has seen how tough the housing market has become for young homeowners, even people in their 30s and 40s, as mortgage rates have doubled over the past year, eating away at people’s income.
The Suh Family Foundation that he runs with his wife, Katya, and partnered with Intuit, encourages educational opportunities for people to understand finances and how to save.
Suh has been in Philadelphia for only one week, but he is launching a financial literacy program for high school students, so they can understand what it would take to eventually own their own home, or even budget their income to afford rent.
“I think it’s something in life that everyone should have an opportunity to have somewhere to rest their head,” Suh told Delaware Online/The News Journal about affordable housing. “And it’s very, very difficult in this day and age, especially where rates are at.
“Just being able to create affordable housing. Nobody gets anywhere in life without a stepping stone and an opportunity to grow. Banks are making it very, very difficult for the everyday person. Even somebody who’s making good money coming out of college, someone making low six figures – you’re kind of behind the 8-ball. If you’re making six figures when I was younger, you’re looking at it like ‘That’s a great job.’
“But just barely making six figures now, it’s not easy in this world.”
Intuit announced on Tuesday it is working with Suh’s foundation to bring financial literacy education to high school students in some of the nation’s largest school districts in Dallas, Los Angeles and Oakland.
According to Intuit, 28% of adults say they’ve never participated in a financial education program.
That’s why Suh said it’s important to start that education in high school. Suh, of course, has earned nearly $200 million in his NFL career, beginning in 2010 when he was the No. 2 overall pick of the Detroit Lions.
But Suh said his mother, an educator, and his father, who was in the housing construction business, preached to him about financial literacy when he was in high school.
As Suh progressed in his NFL career, he became friends with billionaires such as Warren Buffet and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, furthering his financial education. It is something that he is passing on to others through his foundation.
“We try to empower people with education and knowledge,” Suh said. “It’s one of the big things I have an Intuit partnership with. My foundation, just helping the youth understand those financial tools at an early age, so they can prepare themselves when they leave the nest from being at home in high school, and then going to college and whatnot.
It takes planning and preparation, much like it does for him when he goes against Rodgers and the Packers.
“No question, I dislike the Packers, very much so, whether I’m playing with the Eagles or somebody else,” Suh said. “Without question, I have all the desire to get after that quarterback (Rodgers) and create havoc for that offense.”
Contact Martin Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @Mfranknfl.