Few players have had their careers more inextricably linked with a certain franchise than Troy Aikman’s career with the Dallas Cowboys. However, an event nearly occurred in 2002 which would have forever altered that link and blown minds across the NFL landscape.
In a radio interview on Thursday with KTCK-AM in Dallas, Aikman revealed that not only did he almost come back in the league after leaving the Cowboys, he nearly joined the Cowboys hated rivals the Philadelphia Eagles.
Aikman said, “So I retired, got into broadcasting. Then it was two years later when I got a call from Andy Reid in the middle of a game that I was broadcasting after Donovan McNabb had broken his leg. He wanted me to sign with Philadelphia and come out of retirement right then and go to work for them.
“And I gave it some consideration – actually I told Andy I was going to sleep on it and call him in the morning.”
Aikman didn’t just sleep on it though, he took the offer seriously enough to seek the advice of people at Fox, in addition to one of his old coaches. Aikman explained, “I called my producer at Fox and asked him what he thought my career was long-term in television. Then I called [former Cowboys offensive coordinator] Norv Turner and talked to him about it from the football perspective.
“And I woke up the next morning and I just thought, ‘Man, is this something I really want to do?’ And I decided against it. So I called Andy and said, ‘Look. I appreciate the interest, but I’m going to stay put and best of luck.’”
Aikman also entertained comeback offers from the Chargers and the Dolphins. Yet, how history might have changed if Aikman had led the rival Eagles to the Super Bowl and won? Of course, had Aikman gone to Philadelphia in 2002 he would have eventually faced the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with one of the most ferocious defenses in NFL history, which could have proved disastrous for Aikman considering his long history with concussions.
Instead, Aikman elected to stay on the Fox NFL broadcast team where the only risk of brain damage comes from standing too close to Terry Bradshaw.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter: @themightygwinn