In 1982, the Eagles enjoyed the luxury of John Spagnola starting at tight end, who would remain in that role for five of the next six seasons.
Following Spagnola’s departure, the Eagles turned to Keith Jackson, who started the next four seasons at tight end.
When Jackson left the Eagles in 1991, the tight end carousel went 'round and 'round.
Keith Byars, Mark Bavaro, Maurice Johnson, Ed West, Jason Dunn, Jimmie Johnson, and Jed Weaver were the starting tight ends for the Eagles from 1992-99.
In 2000, Chad Lewis received a chance to start. The strange part is that in his previous three seasons with the Eagles and Rams, Lewis started a total of seven games, and he only caught 20 passes.
The year Lewis became the Eagles' starting tight end was historic, it marked the first season Donovan McNabb was the full-time starting quarterback. To make the situation even more pressure-packed was the fact that Andy Reid was only in his second season as head coach, and he was running a West Coast offense.
It may be true that Reid does not run a traditional West Coast offense, but no matter how the offense is run, a reliable tight end is always needed.
Lewis did not disappoint, as he caught a team-high 69 passes for 735 yards.
It was incredible to watch McNabb routinely count on Lewis to come through in the clutch. And when McNabb threw a ball low, Lewis seemingly picked it off the turf with a defender draped all over him.
In defense of McNabb, he threw those passes low because it was the only spot Lewis could catch the ball, but that doesn’t mean they were easy passes to catch.
Lewis was never the go-to guy in the red zone, but whenever McNabb needed to pick up positive yardage and keep a drive going, he looked to the middle of the field, where the sure-handed Lewis patiently waited for McNabb to go through his progressions.
Ultimately, the play of Lewis not only helped the Eagles win games, but it helped McNabb develop into one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.