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Brett Toth's path from the Army to the Eagles was 'a long process for sure'

Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman Brett Toth speaks to the media on Sunday, August 18, 2019.

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By MIKE KAYE | NJ Advance Media Group, Edison, N.J. | Published: August 18, 2019

PHILADELPHIA (Tribune News Service) — Brett Toth left his post as a basic training platoon leader at Fort Lindenwood in Pulaski County, Missouri to join the Eagles on Friday.

Toth, who graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 2018, is a second lieutenant in the Army. He was able to defer his military obligations due to a waiver put in place by President Donald Trump earlier this summer.

The new policy, which allows military athletes to pursue professional careers, was announced in June.

“First and foremost, it couldn’t have been done without President Trump, making the initiative to send athletes to professional sports,” Toth said Sunday before his first practice with the team. “It’s going to be a huge advertising tool for the Army.”

Toth, who hasn’t played in a football game since the Senior Bowl in January 2018, said the process took some time. He had a tryout with the Eagles during training camp and he had to wait for approval from his superiors before he signed a three-year contract with Philadelphia.

“It’s a long process for sure, no doubt about it,” Toth said. “With the help of the staff from my level down in Fort Lindenwood, all the way up to the Chief of Staff of the Army.”

Toth plans to continue his military work during his free time. He will work with the Temple University ROTC program when he isn’t taking part in his football obligations.

“That’s what I’m here for,” Toth said. “To kind of represent West Point and the Army as a whole.”

Toth is facing an uphill battle to earn a roster spot with the Eagles. He only has two preseason games to prove himself on the field before final cuts.

He’s also entering a deep offensive line room with several spots already spoken for.

Still, working with offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland appealed to Toth. He’s also looking forward to learning from veterans like center Jason Kelce, left tackle Jason Peters, right tackle Lane Johnson and right guard Brandon Brooks.

“I’m just excited to get the chance to work under Coach Stoutland,” Toth said. “This is the group of guys you want to learn under.”

Toth arrived at NovaCare Complex this weekend, weighing in at a slim 290 pounds.

His svelte frame was largely due to military weight restrictions.

He wants to get up to 315 pounds as soon as possible.

“With the strength staff here and the nutritional staff, I’m absolutely ready for it,” Toth said. “They’ve been all over me during the past couple of days that I’ve been here.”

Toth won’t get to take his time with the weight gain. He will be thrown into action well before he hits his target weight. He is ready to learn on the job.

“Quickest way to learn how to swim,” Toth said, “is to get into the water.”

©2019 NJ Advance Media Group, Edison, N.J.
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