By Frank Cooney
After being passed over in the NFL Draft, prolific University of Washington running back Chris Polk has signed a rookie free agent deal with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Polk, who rushed for 4,049 yards in barely more than three seasons, was red flagged by teams in the draft because of a shoulder problem and, despite being projected as high as a second-round prospect, was not among the 253 players selected. As soon as the draft ended, the phone began to ring and he eventually chose the Eagles over the Washington Redskins.
"I will just have to go out there and show them I have a lot of great football left in me," Polk told NFLDraftScout.com after agreeing to a deal with the Eagles. "I know teams are concerned about my shoulder, but I also heard somebody say something about a degenerative hip and there is just no truth to that. I had labrum surgery on the shoulder a year ago and it didn't slow me down last season."
In the 2011 regular season, Polk rushed for 1,341 yards, caught 29 passes for 324 yards and scored 15 touchdowns. His career rushing total of 4,049 yards is second only to Napolean Kaufman at Washington.
When Polk began hearing that teams were concerned about his shoulder, he had it checked by well-known orthopedic surgeon James Andrews. According to team sources, Andrews wrote a letter stating that Polk had some scarring from the surgery, but there was nothing that should prevent him from being drafted or playing football. However, some team medical staffs still labeled the shoulder problem as either "chronic" or "degenerative."
Andrews disagreed, telling one source close to Polk, "if I thought Chris had a problem that needed fixing, I would have operated, but there was not a problem."
"Of course I would have preferred to be drafted and drafted high," Polk said. "But the main thing now is that I am with a great offensive team and I will get my opportunity to show what I can do in the NFL."