Philadelphia Eagles rookie Britain Covey parked with fans after being barred from playing area

PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia Eagles rookie punt returner Great Britain Covey will not soon forget his first home game as an NFL player.

He was denied access to the team parking lot when he arrived at Lincoln Financial Field, the home of the Eagles, ahead of Monday night’s game against the Minnesota Vikings. There were two problems: he had not yet been elevated from the practice squad to the active roster and therefore did not have the correct pass, and security did not recognize him.

You can forgive them if Covey didn’t really think they were the football type: he’s on the list at 6 feet, 170 pounds, and joked at training camp that he’d just been mistaken for a kicker by a fan.

“I said, ‘I’ve been elevated to the active roster. I’m a comeback man,'” Covey told ESPN. “They looked at me a little skeptical, and after a while they said, ‘Look, man. We’re sorry. You just don’t have a pass.’ I didn’t want to make a scene, so I just said, ‘Okay, just point me to where everyone else is parking.’ And so they pointed me where everybody other parks.”

Covey was referred to a fan party. His pass worked there, allowing him to bypass the $45 parking fee, but he parked a good quarter of a mile from the stadium and had to ask some customers for directions. Covey, who excelled as a receiver and returns specialist for the University of Utah, was not recognized much as he made his way to the stadium. A handful of fans spotted him, put two and two together and snapped a photo to capture the rare tailgating experience.

“A few of them looked at me like, ‘I feel like that guy is…’ and finally I said, ‘Are we ready for the game?’ And they said, ‘Yeah, you too?'”

Covey reached the stadium in time and sprang into action. He returned three punts for a modest 14 yards in his second NFL game.

He said he now has the correct parking ticket for future home games. Still, Covey considers making a habit of parking in the parking lot because of the perspective it afforded him.

“I’m not that far from that 13-year-old behind the tailgate throwing a football, and it inspires me to just remember where I’m from,” he said.

“I’m determined to prove myself here and you have to start where you started, which is the bottom, and prove yourself,” Covey said. “Honestly, for me it’s a great story because it reminds me of my mindset. … It makes me want to play better, it makes me want to get better.”

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