PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia Eagles rookie punt returner Britain Covey won’t forget his first home game as an NFL player any time soon.
He was denied access to team parking when he arrived at Lincoln Financial Field, the Eagles’ stadium, prior to Monday night’s game against the Minnesota Vikings. There were two problems: He wasn’t elevated from the practice squad to the active roster yet and therefore didn’t have the appropriate pass, and security didn’t recognize him.
You can forgive them if Covey didn’t exactly strike them as the football type: He’s listed at 5-foot-8, 170 pounds, and joked at training camp that he had just been mistaken by a fan for a kicker.
“I said, ‘I’ve been elevated to the active roster. I’m a return guy,'” Covey told ESPN. “They kind of looked at me skeptically, and after a little bit they were like, ‘Look, man. We’re sorry. You just don’t have the pass.’ I didn’t want to make a scene so I just said, ‘OK, just point me to where everybody else parks.’ And so they pointed me to where everybody else parks.”
Covey was directed to a fan lot. His pass worked there, allowing him to bypass the $45 parking fee, but he parked a good quarter-mile away from the stadium and had to ask some patrons for directions. Covey, who excelled as a receiver and return specialist for the University of Utah, wasn’t recognized much as he weaved his way toward the stadium. A handful of fans spotted him, put two and two together and snapped a picture to capture the rare tailgating experience.
“A few of them were looking at me like, ‘I feel like that guy is…’ and finally I said, ‘Are we ready for the game?’ And they said, ‘Yeah, are you?'”
Covey made it to the stadium in time and got into the action. He returned three punts for a modest 14 yards in his second NFL game.
He said he now has the appropriate parking pass for future home games. Still, Covey is considering making a habit of parking in the fan lot because of the perspective it offered him.
“I’m not that far removed from being that 13-year-old at a tailgate throwing a football, and it inspires me to just remember where I come from,” he said.
“I’m determined to prove myself here and you have to start from where you started, and that’s the bottom, and prove yourself,” Covey said. “Honestly, for me it’s a great story because it reminds me of my mentality. … It makes me want to play better, it makes me want to be better.”