WITHOUT THE EAGLES, Christmas and a terrible breakfast at a South Philly Holiday Inn, there would be no “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.” Or weirdo Old Spice commercials featuring talking abs. Or even, dare I say it, “White Chicks.”
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” the new Fox sitcom starring “Saturday Night Live” alum Andy Samberg and all-time great Andre Braugher, features comedian/action star Terry Crews as softhearted (yet huge-muscled) Sgt. Terry Jeffords. Crews told me the role was created for him by series honchos (and “Parks and Recreation” vets) Daniel J. Goor and Michael Schur, who loved his work in other projects.
But before Crews was acting, he was a journeyman, a pass-rushing defensive end and linebacker who signed with the Eagles around Christmas 1996 after being cut by the Redskins in August of that year. It was his time with the Eagles that inspired Crews to get out of the game.
“For two weeks, I stayed at the Holiday Inn across the street from Veterans Stadium. I just remember it was Christmas Day. It was the saddest thing ever, that Holiday Inn. I was eating old sausage and two little pancakes. It was so sad,” Crews told me. “I was missing my family. We lost the game to the 49ers – it was a playoff game. I just thought, I don’t want to do this anymore. The excitement wasn’t there.”