Jeremiah Trotter was one of the greatest linebackers in Philadelphia Eagles history.
Trotter earned this lofty status from a relentless work ethic he developed chopping wood as a youngster in Texas.
Trotter eventually became “The Axe Man” during the pinnacle of his pro football career with the Eagles.
Whenever he made a game-changing play, he swung his arms as if he were chopping wood.
Trotter was a prominent part of an Eagles defense that helped the team dominate the NFC East in the early 2000s.
The Philadelphia Eagles Hall of Fame eventually inducted him in the fall of 2016.
Jeremiah Trotter is living proof hard work pays off each and every time.
Jeremiah Trotter was born in Hooks, TX on January 20, 1977.
Trotter worked with his father Myra and his seven siblings chopping logs and selling them as firewood during his formative years.
Jeremiah had to do his homework inside the school bus. When he got home, he chopped wood until the wee hours of the morning, per PhillyVoice.com’s Joseph Santoliquito.
Jeremiah Trotter, aka the “Axe Man,” number of days until @Eagles regular season football!!@JTrotter_54 is a four-time Pro Bowler, including the season the #Eagles went to Super Bowl XXXIX. He is eighth in franchise history in solo tackles (565). #FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/Mr9ziMnCoG
— Corner Pub Sports (@CornerPubSports) July 21, 2020
Little wonder Trotter earned the nickname “The Axe Man” when he played in the National Football League.
Trotter celebrated big plays on the gridiron with an arm motion that resembled swinging an axe.
“Chopping wood in that Texas heat made a man out of me,” Trotter told PhillyVoice.com in 2018. “Those days molded me. I knew there was no one who was going to outwork me on a football field.”
Jeremiah Trotter and his siblings had a better life than their dad.
Myra Trotter walked several miles to school barefoot in the snow, slept on a wooden floor, and sometimes went days without eating when he was a child.
Trotter told Santoliquito in 2018 that he and his family never went hungry when he was growing up in Texas.
Trotter never played football in junior high school. While his friends went to football practice, he chopped wood with his father.
While Trotter learned a valuable lesson off the gridiron, he still wanted to play on it.
According to Ray Didinger of the Eagles’ official website, Myra Trotter finally gave Jeremiah his blessing to play high school football on the condition he chopped wood when he got home from practice.
Jeremiah Trotter attended Hooks High School in his hometown.
Trotter lettered in football for the Hooks Hornets. He earned district honors three times and the District MVP award as a senior.
College Days With the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks
Jeremiah Trotter remained in Texas and suited up for the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks during his college days.
Trotter admitted to The Morning Call’s Larry O’Rourke in September 2001 that he hated golf when he was in college. He never watched golf at all.
That all changed when Mike Caldwell became his teammate with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1998.
Caldwell somehow convinced Trotter to play golf with him during the summer and the rest is history.
The @Mid_Penn_Bank Celebrity Golf Classic defending champ is none other than former @NFL LB Jeremiah Trotter. A 4x Pro Bowler and @Eagles HOF’er, The Axe Man brings the same intensity he was known for on the gridiron to the golf course. Welcome back Jeremiah! pic.twitter.com/6laYGAfyEM
— Rory Ritrievi (@MPBRory) June 19, 2021
Trotter became hooked on golf. He told O’Rourke he loved the game because of its therapeutic yet challenging nature.
Caldwell wasn’t the only member of the Philadelphia Eagles organization who made a profound impact on Trotter’s life.
Trotter’s NFL career took off when the Eagles hired Jim Johnson to become their defensive coordinator in 1999.
Johnson, who was the Seattle Seahawks linebackers coach, worked out Trotter at Stephen F. Austin University during the latter’s junior season in 1998.
Trotter stood out in Johnson’s eyes because of his size (he was a 250-lb. college linebacker) and running and tackling prowess.
Johnson even compared Trotter’s physicality to 13-time Pro Bowl Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker Ray Lewis, per The Morning Call.
At that moment, Jim Johnson wanted Jeremiah Trotter, a Consensus All-American in 1997, to become a Seattle Seahawk.
Unfortunately, that never materialized. Johnson had to wait for more than a year before he got to work with Trotter with the Eagles.
Trotter ultimately decided to forego his senior season with the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks and declare for the 1998 NFL Draft.
His 75-year-old father Myra’s declining health prompted him to leave school early and become the family breadwinner.
Trotter told Adobe.com’s Julie Bacanskas in 2016 that it was the best decision he made in his life.
He had always wanted his dad to travel, relax, and do the things he wasn’t able to do when Jeremiah was growing up in Texas.
Jeremiah Trotter would put his vaunted skill set to good use and eventually evolve into a four-time Pro Bowl linebacker in the professional ranks.
Pro Football Career
The Philadelphia Eagles made Jeremiah Trotter the 72nd overall selection of the 1998 NFL Draft.
Trotter’s pro football career got off to a slow start.
Eagles head coach Ray Rhodes deactivated Trotter for seven of his first eight games. He saw action mostly on special teams and recorded six tackles as a rookie.
The Eagles won just three games in 1998 – it was their worst showing in sixteen years.
Trotter confided to the Eagles’ official website some seventeen years later that he wasn’t ready to play as a rookie.
His father Myra passed away before mini-camp kicked off in 1998.
“That was tough on me,” Trotter told PhiladelphiaEagles.com in 2015. I kind of lost my desire, my passion to play football.”
Trotter remembered sending money to his father shortly after he turned pro so he could pay the bills.
When mini-camp practices ended, Trotter went back to his hotel room, buried his face in his pillow, and cried himself to sleep every day, per Adobe.com.
Somehow, Trotter pulled himself together after the harrowing personal ordeal.
He remembered promising his dad he’d take care of his mom. Playing football helped him achieve that goal.
𝐋𝐁 #𝟓𝟒 Jeremiah Trotter (@JTrotter_54)
Drafted by the Eagles in the 3rd round of the 1998 draft
Career highlights and awards
4× Pro Bowl (2000, 2001, 2004, 2005)
2× All-Pro (2000, 2001)
Eagles Hall of Fame pic.twitter.com/QtAAJ5Fh9P
— 🇬🇧 Philadelphia Eagles UK (@UKEagles_) April 12, 2020
Jeremiah Trotter wasn’t a patient individual when he was growing up in Texas.
He told O’Rourke he wanted things to happen right away back then.
That all changed when he began playing in the NFL. His tough rookie season in 1998 taught him to become patient and wait for the proper opportunities.
When the Eagles hired Andy Reid prior to the 1999 NFL season, Trotter’s NFL career took off.
New Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson’s attacking style defense utilized Trotter and safety Brian Dawkins skill sets to the hilt.
Trotter became Philly’s starting middle linebacker that year and recorded 202 tackles.
Trotter developed a big-play celebration that resembled an axe’s chopping motion in 1999. He did that as a tribute to his late father Myra.
“The Axe Man’ was officially born.
Despite Trotter’s best efforts, the Eagles weren’t much better – they won just five games in 1999.
The Eagles already had Donovan McNabb – a former four-time First-Team All-Big East quarterback with the Syracuse Orange – on board.
Reid promised Trotter and the rest of the defense that he would fix the offense so the Eagles could make strides in 2000 and beyond.
That’s exactly what Reid did.
Philadelphia won eleven games for two consecutive seasons from 2000 to 2001. Jeremiah Trotter earned two consecutive All-Pro selections during that time frame.
Since Trotter broke through the professional ranks two years earlier, he had always wanted to put on a show in front of his family and friends whenever the Eagles visited the Dallas Cowboys in Texas.
Trotter also noticed the Eagles’ locker room vibe was noticeably different whenever they played the Cowboys, their fierce NFC East division rivals.
In a blog Trotter wrote on the team’s official website in the fall of 2019, he observed his teammates were more energetic while the coaches were edgier. Even if it was a regular-season game, it felt like a playoff atmosphere.
Dallas Week was different than any other week for Trotter’s Eagles.
One Cowboys game that stood out for Trotter during that 2000 NFL season was the Pickle Juice Game.
It was one of the hottest games Trotter remembered playing in.
He remembered seeing the Cowboys sitting in the sun while he and his teammates sat in the shade.
It was so hot that Trotter and his teammates could’ve drank anything they could get their hands on.
“Pickle juice? When coach tells you that it’s going to be over 100 degrees on the field, he could tell you to drink gasoline to keep you hydrated and you’d at least think about it,” Trotter wrote in his PhiladelphiaEagles.com blog in October 2019.
The Eagles also won the NFC East division in 2001 – their first division title since the 1988 NFL season.
Unfortunately, the Eagles lost to Kurt Warner’s St. Louis Rams in the NFC Championship Game, 29-24.
Nevertheless, Jeremiah Trotter’s pro football career picked up tremendously.
He led the Eagles in tackles for three straight seasons since Reid took over the reins from Rhodes.
Trotter also earned two of his four career Pro Bowl Berths in 2000 and 2001.
The Eagles designated the franchise tag on Trotter, who became a free agent following the 2001 NFL season.
Happy 45th birthday to Eagles great Jeremiah Trotter! pic.twitter.com/Wtt93e2ANl
— Shibe Vintage Sports (@ShibeSports) January 20, 2022
After the two sides could not agree on a contract, Trotter eventually signed a seven-year, $36 million deal with the Eagles’ division rivals, the Washington Redskins.
Trotter’s stint in the nation’s capital was a short-lived one.
He tore his knee during the 2003 NFL season and became a shadow of his old self with the Eagles.
Trotter’s first year with the Redskins was also mired in controversy.
Trotter told Philadelphia radio station 97.5 The Fanatic (via ESPN’s John Keim) that in January 2016 he punched Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington during training camp in 2003.
Trotter told his teammates on the drive to training camp that his relationship with Arrington had already reached a boiling point.
“If he says one more word to me, y’all mark what I saw, I’m gonna put him to sleep. Just like that,” Trotter told 97.5 The Fanatic (via ESPN).
Things escalated when Redskins defensive coordinator George Edwards dissected a play that showed issues between the two players during film study.
Trotter claimed Arrington stood up and began shouting expletives and claimed Trotter had no clue what he was doing.
Trotter also stood up and shouted he was done playing – a statement he claimed he directed at himself.
When Trotter pushed a chair back, Arrington lunged and swung at him.
Trotter somehow eluded Arrington’s punch and countered with an overhand right that knocked the latter out cold.
In two years with Washington, Trotter had just 200 tackles and 1.5 sacks.
In stark contrast, Trotter had 202 tackles alone in Reid’s first year at the helm in Philly in 1999.
Washington won an average of just six games during Trotter’s two-year tenure. Consequently, the team missed the postseason each time.
The Redskins eventually released Jeremiah Trotter on June 1, 2004.
Through it all, Reid comforted Trotter during his career struggles in Washington.
“Even when I tore my knee up my first year in Washington, Andy called me at home and checked on me,” Trotter told the Eagles’ official website in 2015. “‘Hey, Trott, I’m sorry to hear about your knee. You’re a great competitor. You’re a big reason why we’re successful now.’ That did so much for me.”
The Eagles won twelve games per season since Trotter left the team in 2002. Philadelphia also made consecutive NFC Championship Game appearances.
Reid’s empathy and the Eagles’ winning ways paved the way for Jeremiah Trotter’s second tour of duty with the squad in 2004.
Trotter signed a one-year deal worth the veteran’s minimum prior to the 2004 NFL campaign. He was back where it all began six years earlier.
The move also reunited Trotter with Reid, the man who helped his pro football career flourish.
Trotter started nine games for the Eagles and had 80 tackles while playing mostly special teams in 2004.
His 10 tackles from behind the line of scrimmage led all Philadelphia defensive players that year.
Trotter took a backseat to Mark Simoneau at middle linebacker in the former’s return to Philadelphia.
“It was one of the most humbling things that I’d ever had to go through,” Trotter wrote on PhiladelphiaEagles.com in the fall of 2019.
The Eagles continued their dominance of the NFC East. They won thirteen games and clinched their fourth straight division title in 2004.
Trotter considered the NFC Championship Game against the visiting Atlanta Falcons one of the most memorable of his 12-year NFL career.
The Eagles prevailed over the Falcons in sub-freezing conditions at Philly’s Lincoln Financial Field, 27-10.
“That was one of the coldest games I ever played in and I’d look at the stands and see Eagles fans with their shirts off. Man, these guys are crazy!” Trotter told the Eagles’ official website in 2015.
Philly was on the cusp of winning its first Super Bowl title.
Alas, the Eagles lost to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX, 24-21.
Trotter told PhiladelphiaEagles.com that the crowd’s energy and hysteria during the Super Bowl at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville was nowhere close to that at Lincoln Financial Field during the NFC title game two weeks earlier.
If there was any consolation for Jeremiah Trotter, it was earning his third Pro Bowl berth in 2004.
He also signed a five-year, $15 million contract extension with the Eagles at season’s end.
Trotter decided to remain in Philly despite a more lucrative offer from the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Eagles averaged eight wins per season in Trotter’s next two years in The City of Brotherly Love.
Philly stumbled to a 6-10 win-loss campaign in 2005.
Trotter’s 101 tackles that year helped him earn his fourth Pro Bowl selection.
The Eagles won ten games in 2006 but lost in the NFC Divisional Round to Drew Brees’ New Orleans Saints, 27-24.
Philadelphia released Trotter just two weeks before the start of the 2007 NFL campaign.
Trotter signed a one-year deal with Jon Gruden’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers on September 3, 2007.
He was a non-factor in Tampa Bay and appeared in just three games in a Bucs uniform.
The Bucs won nine games in 2007. They lost to the New York Giants in the NFC Wild Card Game, 24-14.
After a one-and-a-half year hiatus, Jeremiah Trotter re-signed with the Philadelphia Eagles to help shore up their linebacker corps on September 25, 2009.
It was Trotter’s third tour of duty with the Eagles.
Although Philly won eleven games, they lost to Tony Romo’s Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Wild Card Game in lopsided fashion, 34-14.
Jeremiah Trotter hung up his cleats following the 2009 NFL season.
He finished his 12-year pro football career with 720 solo tackles, 12.5 sacks, eight forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, nine interceptions, and two defensive touchdowns.
Jeremiah Trotter considered his eight-year, three-tenure stint with the Eagles the best of his 12-year pro gridiron career.
“I thank God every day that I spent the majority of my career in Philadelphia,” Trotter told PhiladelphiaEagles.com in 2015. “You talk about a first-class organization. You talk about a fan base that is the greatest in the National Football League. That’s my home.”
Jeremiah Trotter and his wife Tammi have a daughter TreMil and two sons Jeremiah, Jr. and Josiah. They currently reside in the Southern New Jersey area.
Trotter’s sons Jeremiah, Jr. and Josiah have followed in his footsteps on the gridiron.
Jeremiah, Jr. is currently a linebacker for the Clemson Tigers. His brother Josiah is a linebacker at St. Joseph’s Preparatory School in Philadelphia.
Josiah Trotter committed to the West Virginia Mountaineers in the spring of 2022.
Trotter made his acting debut in the independent feature film “The North Star” in 2013. He told the Eagles’ official website he enjoyed shooting the movie.
Trotter would also consider acting again given the right role.
Jeremiah Trotter became a member of the Philadelphia Eagles Hall of Fame in November 2016.
Trotter is currently working as a radio football analyst.