Drafted out of Oregon with the final pick in the 2001 draft, AJ Feeley wasn’t really expected to be much. He had spent most of his career backing up Akili Smith or Joey Harrington, and since the Birds had Donovan McNabb and former starter Koy Detmer aboard, Feeley’s selection was doubly puzzling.
Instead, again, he became a poster child for Reid’s systemic drafting.
In his first appearance in the 2001 season finale, he went 10-of-14 for 143 yards and a pair of touchdowns, leading the Birds to a comeback win over a Tampa Bay team they would end up seeing again the following week in the playoffs.
In 2002, injuries to McNabb and Detmer gave Feeley a chance to shine. The Eagles hoped they would be able to sneak into the playoffs, but Feeley went 4-1 as the starter and led the team to the top record in the NFC.
Then, after never seeing a snap in 2003, he was gone, traded to the Dolphins.
But three years later he returned to be McNabb’s backup again, and again fate gave him a chance. In 2007, another injury took out McNabb and Feeley got extended action.
However, this time he threw seven picks in two starts, somehow still nearly leading upsets of the Ravens and then undefeated Patriots, before heading back to the bench.
Now he’s in Carolina, where he backed up Jake Delhomme and Matt Moore after being released by the Birds just before the season opener.
While he never did “amount to much” per say, his contributions in 2002 led to a feeling of security among Eagles' fans. Even though he struggled in 2007 and was a third-stringer most of the rest of his time, fans felt comfortable knowing Feeley would come into a game if needed.
Could he be the best backup QB in team history?