This morning, Connor Barwin was released by the Eagles to save about $8 million in cap space.
As recently as Tuesday, he discussed taking a pay cut to stay in Philly.
“My plan is to stay here. You know, people talk about my contract and I think, I like to think, I’m a reasonable person and I feel like I’ll work with the Eagles and we’ll restructure and make some kind of deal that works for everybody,” Barwin said during Breakfast on Broad, per CSN Philly.
For the past four years, he played defensive end and linebacker in what was decidedly an unremarkable time in the franchise’s history.
Barwin saw one playoff game in the form of a 2013 loss to the New Orleans Saints. He lived through the Chip Kelly experiment, and presumably downed his fair share of smoothies during that time. He also got a Pro Bowl nod in 2014, and generally played his ass off during his tenure with the Birds.
But above football, he may be remembered most as Connor Barwin, the citizen. That’s an odd distinction for an athlete in a city where fans know their starting offensive line better than they know members of City Council.
For Barwin, it may just be true. Here’s six reasons we’ll miss him:
He rode his bike and took SEPTA to work
I’d be willing to bet that Barwin traveled on SEPTA more than any other millionaire in the city. I’d at least wager a couple of tokens on it. Yes, I still have tokens. Barwin probably does too. That’s one of the reasons we like him.
He also had this sweet bike.
Here’s a video of him riding a different bike and taking the subway (and various other things, which I’m about to write about).
He wanted to make the world (and Philly) better
In 2013, Barwin founded the mtwb Foundation, which stands for Make the World Better. It’s a nonprofit organization that sought to improve the lives of children and teens in Philly by giving them safe places for artistic and athletic development. He raised a bunch of money and did a bunch of cool things for the city.
To that end…
He organized concerts to make the world better
Barwin organized three concerts at Union Transfer to support this goal. The first two, which included Philly musicians like Kurt Vile and The Districts as well popular indie acts Mac DeMarco and Parquet Courts, raised over $485,000 for renovations at playgrounds in South Philly. The third, featuring Philly’s Waxahatchee and Hope Along, raised $200,000 for renovating Waterloo Playground in West Kensington.
It was pretty great to see Kurt Vile play guitar in an Eagles jersey.
He followed through with his plans
In 2015, Barwin’s Make the World Better Foundation dedicated Ralph Brooks Park at 20th and Tasker in Point Breeze. The park has a basketball court, playground, community garden and artwork from Mural Arts’ Steve Powers.
Here's what you've been waiting for: The #1 spot on our countdown of the most popular murals of 2015 goes to @steveespopowers and his collection of murals at Ralph Brooks Park. You can find this mural, and a few others by Steve, at 20th and Tasker in South Philly. Happy new year! See you in 2016! Photos by @steveweinik
Just yesterday Barwin was posting videos of work being done at Smith Playground.
— Connor Barwin (@ConnorBarwin98) March 8, 2017
He had ideas to improve the city, and shared them
Barwin was a regular contributor to The Philadelphia Citizen, where he wrote about his civic engagement in Philadelphia. Through these articles, he chronicled his involvement with civic activities and shared ideas that could help move Philly forward.
He played for the Eagles
Let’s face it. If you play for the Eagles, and you play hard and do what you’re supposed to do, this city will love you. Most times, it doesn’t matter what you do off the field.
But Barwin was different. He was not just an Eagle, but a Philadelphian too. For that, we’ll miss him.