Eagles’ Blake Gives Super Bowl Glen Dale Flavor

GLEN DALE — Super Bowl 52 will be extra super for a Glen Dale couple.

Joe and Trudy Blake are in Minnesota today for the NFL championship game, pitting the Philadelphia Eagles against the New England Patriots.

They have a vested interest in the game — their son, Craig, is the assistant equipment manager for the Eagles. He has been with NFC champions for nearly five years.

Blake is a 2008 John Marshall grad. He played football and ran track for the Monarchs. His equipment-management vocation took root when he was 8 years old as served as manager for John Marshall football coach Mike Linsky.

After picking up his JM diploma, he headed off to Morgantown. He majored in sports management at WVU, graduating in 2013. During that time, Blake served as student manager for Dan Nehlen, son of legendary grid coach Don Nehlen.

The younger Nehlen, now in his 30th year as the WVU equipment director, spoke highly of Blake, 28.

“Craig worked for me for four years and did a great job when he was here. Craig cared about people and also got along with all staff,” Nehlen said. “Craig would not only be on time but would be here early. I also never had to worry about his academics. I would take 10 Craigs to work for me.”

Blake’s time at WVU proved quite fruitful as it led to an internship with the Eagles, eventually morphing into his current full-time position.

He was part of the team’s delegation that arrived in Minnesota a week ago. Prior to departure, Blake was charged with packing all the team’s helmets and shoulder pads as well as making sure the Eagles’ game jerseys were adorned with the Super Bowl 52 logo.

In addition to Blake’s equipment duties with the Eagles, he also comes into play each year at the NFL Draft. He is one of the team’s two representatives on site at the draft. A year ago it was staged in Philadelphia, this April he will be heading to Dallas for the college talent grab bag.

Blake and fellow Eagle employee, Kevin Dougherty, are responsible for answering the phone and filling out the draft card with the player’s name.

Joe and Trudy Blake flew to the Land of 10,000 Lakes on Thursday. They drove to Eagle headquarters in Philadelphia and were transported by a team plane.

“We have first-level seats,” Joe said. “It is only expected to be 9 degrees on game day there. I have been always a Steelers fan but now I am an Eagles fan. I have met most of the players. I know the linemen really well.

“My son says the team is practicing hard and things are looking good. He said they will be ready. The team is scheduled to return Monday and will hold a parade Tuesday if they win.”

Joe and Trudy Blake reside in Glen Dale. Their residence is located right behind that of country music superstar Brad Paisley’s parents. Joe, a retired AEP Kammer Plant employee, said the families are great friends.


∫ The Ohio Valley football head coaching fraternity is losing one of the great guys in the profession with the announcement that Rick Goodrich was stepping down at John Marshall. Goody enjoyed great success at three schools (Bridgeport, Cambridge and JM) and did it with class at every stop while truly caring about his players. He will be missed by everyone in the football community.

∫ Much the same can be said of Bruce Stiles. I was stunned when he announced his retirement Wednesday as Union Local’s head football coach. Stiles did a masterful job with the Jets program, leading it to great heights this fall, including an OVAC championship and an OHSAA playoff berth. Bruce is a quality coach and character individual. I hope he remains in the profession in some capacity.

∫ The Cleveland Browns should select Penn State’s Saquon Barkley with the top pick in the NFL Draft. The Brownies can select a quarterback three slots later or spend some bucks and sign Kirk Cousins.

∫ John Stanko and all those who offered help deserve major kudos for making the second annual Skip Prosser Classic a resounding success. It is a great event honoring a special coach and individual.

∫ Chief Wahoo is getting tossed. The Cleveland Indians’ logo since 1947 is being phased out by Major League Baseball for political reasons. Starting with the 2019 season, the Indians will no longer sport the logo on their jerseys or caps. I have issues with that. Chief Wahoo is not a sign of disrespect but one of good feeling.

∫ Kudos to Bellaire hoop standout Chase Yoho for cracking the 2,000-point mark this past week. That is rarified air in Ohio Valley prep circles. Chase attained the milestone with class and sportsmanship every step of the way.

∫ Ohio University Eastern will host the annual OVAC Girls’ Basketball Championships this Saturday. It is a great day for prep hoop junkies to take in five games. The OVAC boys’ tourney plays out Feb. 17 at the same venue.

∫ D.P. Harris has his St. Vincent men’s basketball team in the hunt for the Presidents’ Athletic Conference regular-season championship. The former Wheeling Park hoopster has guided his Latrobe-based charges to an 11-2 PAC mark, one game out of the top spot. Overall, St. Vincent is 14-6.

∫ My Super Bowl pick: Patriots 27, Eagles 23. Bottom line: How can you pick against Brady and Belichick?

Bubba Kapral can be reached at bkapral@timesleaderonline.come