Two months ago, Brett Toth would've been denied a chance to play in the NFL. Today, he signed a momentous deal with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Prior to June 26, student-athletes in the armed forces were not allowed to put their duties on hold in the pursuit of a professional career. It was on that day that a change was approved to modify this rule, which had been in place since 2017, allowing the Eagles to add Toth, a 6-foot-6, 290-pound offensive tackle out of West Point.
"I'm excited for the opportunity, more excited to get out on the field and get a playbook in my hands and start getting after it," Toth said, via Chris McPherson of Eagles.com. "I'm ready to get back out there and off the sidelines."
The last time Toth played competitive football, he was selected to participate in the Senior Bowl in January 2018 after helping to anchor the nation's top rushing offense in 2017, his senior season.
Toth spent the year following graduation showcasing his knowledge both on and off the field. He served as a graduate assistant, where he helped lead the Black Knights to their most successful season, and completed a difficult course-load as an engineering officer en route to earning a platoon leader role.
"I was adamant about worrying about my military obligations first as well as what my duty title was," Toth said. "I told my battalion commander, my company commander that, first and foremost, I was there to complete my duty. That was going to be my first priority."
Although he's been out of the game for 18 months, Toth has the opportunity to be a steal of a signing for an already loaded Eagles offensive line. Toth revealed that both offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland and former Eagle and current Steelers OT Alejandro Villanueva as influences for his decision. Villanueva served three tours of duty in Afghanistan before joining the NFL in 2014.
It's been an uphill battle for Toth but he has already conquered several big challenges, growing stronger as an athlete and officer along the way. The Eagles will look to bring out the absolute best Toth has to offer.
"It's going to be a lot of proving that I belong here and just taking what coaching I've gotten at those all-star games and applying it as quickly as possible and adjusting on the run," he said. "I got the short stick here. Other guys have been doing this for a few months. They've been able to understand the offense and I've got two weeks now to show that I belong on this roster."