Out of Robert Morris, Hank Fraley was a three time All American selection at the center position, and was a three-time All-North East Conference first team selection. Robert Morris University was so impressed by his play, that he became only the second player in school history to have his number retired. Fraley was a standout center in college, and brought his excellent leadership and run blocking skills to Philadelphia as a free agent in 2000. Fraley was expected to be backup at the guard or center position when acquired by the team, but when Miller suffered an injury in the 2001 season finale, all of that changed.
Fraley was unproven when he was first given the opportunity to start at center. Many wondered how Fraley, who had never taken a snap in the NFL, would fill in for the Veteran Miller, but fill in he did. Fraley has become part of one of the most interrelated units in the NFL. He developed close friendships with the rest of the line, and has proven that he is a top-notch center in this league.
Philadelphia’s offensive line was the foundation for last year’s tremendous offensive performance in which the team scored the most points in franchise history in 2002, and paved the way for Duce Staley to rush for over 1,000 yards last season. When Donovan McNabb went down with a knee injury last year, the task ahead of the offensive line was daunting. The group needed to adjust to the tendencies of two other quarterbacks, and do so in a race for the top spot in the NFC.
Fraley was very active in learning each quarterback’s preferences, and was part of a group that surrendered only 36 sacks all season. When Koy Detmer and A.J. Feeley were on the field late in the season, it seemed that this line came alive, and was an integral part of this team’s success down the stretch.
In 2003, Fraley will once again be the starter, and if he can improve even more on his superb play over the past few years, this line will become that much better. The Eagles need a solid performance from their offensive line this season, and Fraley is just the guy to make that happen.