Philadelphia – The Thanksgiving weekend is a stressful time for anyone with travel plans set in advance, as well as for any family member hosting dinner.
It was no different for the Eagles’ newest defensive tackle Linval Joseph, 34, and Ndamkong Suh, 35. Up until a week ago, Joseph was at home in Gainesville, Florida, planning to fly his mom in from Houston to be with him, his wife, and their two daughters. Then the Eagles signed him last Wednesday.
“I was going to do it in Florida this year, with a lot of family,” Joseph said of the holiday. “That’s changed. I’ve done the (original) trips, I’ve made the reservations. I had to cancel everything and shift here. But it’s so important to spend vacations with family.”
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It was the same with Suh, who is married and has two 19-month-old sons. He was planning Thanksgiving at his home near Tampa. Then the Eagles called last Thursday. So Suh had brought his family to Philadelphia.
“A lot has changed,” Suh said of the past week. “I don’t know 100% what our plans are, other than getting our place in order from that point of view. I’m just concentrating on my football at this time. I’m used to not being able to really celebrate the holidays in the winter months.”
The two players, who were both drafted in 2010, made their debut last Sunday in the 17-16 win over the Indianapolis Colts after not playing in a game or working out with a team since last January.
However, the two shared a sack of Colts quarterback Matt Ryan and will next catch Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Rodgers Sunday night.
They both have a lot of experience in this regard. Suh spent his first five seasons with the Detroit Lions, facing Rodgers twice each season. He also went against him in each of his last three seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In all, Suh has 5 sacks against Rodgers.
Joseph also went against Rodgers twice each season when he was with the Vikings from 2015-19. He has 2 sacks against Rodgers.
“It’s not enough,” Suh said of his bags. “I try to add that number a little more. But Aaron is very, very smart. He gets rid of the ball. He’ll run to the sideline, and then look at you and laugh as he throws the ball out of bounds so you don’t get a sack. He knows what he’s doing.”
But Suh also has other things on his mind besides dealing with quarterbacks. It also addresses financial literacy for those who are not as fortunate as he is.
Suh has seen how tough the housing market is for young homeowners, even people in their 30s and 40s, as mortgage rates have doubled over the past year, eroding people’s incomes.
The Suh Family Foundation, which he runs with his wife Katya, and in partnership with Intuit, promotes educational opportunities for people to understand finances and how to save.
Suh has only been in Philadelphia for a week, but he’s launching a financial literacy program for high school students, so they can understand what it takes to finally own their home, or even budget their income to afford the rent.
“I think it’s something in life that everyone should have a chance to have somewhere to rest their head,” Suh told the Delaware Online/The News Journal about affordable housing. “It’s very difficult in this day and age, especially where the rates are.
“Just being able to create affordable housing. No one gets anywhere in life without a springboard and opportunity to grow. Banks make it very, very difficult for ordinary people. Even someone who’s making good money from college, someone who’s making low six figures — I was Sort of behind the eight-ball. If you were making six figures when you were younger, you look at it like, “That’s great work.”
“But just making six figures now, it’s not easy in this world.”
Intuit announced Tuesday that it is working with the Suh Foundation to provide financial literacy education to high school students in some of the nation’s largest school districts in Dallas, Los Angeles and Oakland.
According to Intuit, 28% of adults say they have never participated in a financial education program.
That’s why Suh said it’s important to start this education in high school. Suh, of course, has earned close to $200 million in his NFL career, starting in 2010 when he was the second overall pick for the Detroit Lions.
But Suh said his mother, a teacher, and his father, a house builder, pitched him about financial literacy when he was in high school.
As Suh progressed in his NFL career, he befriended billionaires like Warren Buffett and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, furthering his financial education. It is something he transmits to others through his organization.
“We try to empower people with education and knowledge,” Suh said. “It’s one of the big things that I have a partnership with Intuit. My foundation, they just help young people understand those financial tools at a young age, so they can prepare themselves for when they leave the nest of home in high school, and then go off to college and so on.
It takes planning and preparation, just as it does for him when he takes on Rodgers and the Packers.
“There’s no doubt that I hate the Lakers, very, very much,” said Suh, “whether I’m playing for the Eagles or somebody else.” “Without a doubt, I have every desire to go after that quarterback (Rodgers) and wreak havoc with that offense.”
Contact Martin Frank at [email protected] Follow us on Twitter @Mfranknfl.