Philadelphia Eagles’ Gardner Minshew spent offseason in old prison bus, focused on ‘Super Bowl or bust’ – Philadelphia Eagles Blog

PHILADELPHIA — Coach Anthony Tumbarello didn’t know if Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Gardner Minshew was serious when he told Tumbarello he wanted to live on a bus outside of Tumbarello’s gym in Bonita Springs, Fla., this offseason.

But in fact, on Feb. 20, after traveling cross-country for a few weeks, Tumbarello said he heard the “beep, beep, beep” sound from the back of the industrial building where his gym is located as Minshew smashed the beast into one moved body near the garage. And it stayed there for almost five months before Minshew reported to training camp this week, where he will try to build on a successful first year in Philadelphia.

“Hey, I don’t know of a coach in the country who can say that their professional athlete pulled up on a bus and ate, slept and lived around the clock at the gym preparing for the season,” Tumbarello said.

Life on the bus is something Minshew has wanted to do since high school, he said in an Instagram video describing his long, strange journey this summer. “I just love the freedom it gives me. It gives me a place to focus,” he said. “I live in the gym, eat, sleep, shower here. All. It’s kind of my own little island here. I love it.”

To fulfill the dream, he bought an old inmate transport vehicle and gave the interior a hippie makeover, complete with a bright orange couch with white shag throw pillows, a ’70s-inspired floral bed skirt, and a plethora of album covers lining the walls (Pink Floyd, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Janis Joplin, Black Sabbath – the works), candles and of course a lava lamp. He learned to play the guitar.

Since the property became a nature reserve, Minshew built a gravel pit and set up a hammock near where he had been reading from a collection of books including Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and George Mumford’s The Mindful Athlete” during his free time. With a live music brewery nearby, the bus was often a gathering place for coaches and athletes, Tumbarello said, to relax on a beautiful summer evening.

Minshew connected the bus to the gym’s electrical grid to power its refrigerator, (semi-effective) air conditioning, and cooking station. He showered outside in the open air — don’t worry, he was wearing compression shorts — using the gym’s water supply and his own flushing kit. He also had to rely on the gym to use the bathroom as the bus was not equipped with one.

His personal quarterbacks coach Denny Thompson said he had “initial concerns” about Minshew’s decision to live on a bus, wondering if it was physically best for a professional athlete. But those close to the QB expect the unexpected from Minshew, one of the truly unique personalities in esports, who likes to stretch before games in just a jockstrap in the locker room, wrestle big fish and once tried to break his own hand with a hammer to qualify for another year at East Carolina University – stories that have fed into “Minshew Mania” since he entered the league as the Jacksonville Jaguars’ sixth-round pick in 2019.

“If someone who’s a pro athlete calls you and says, ‘I’m going to be staying on a bus in the off-season,’ you assume it’s going to be this big RV, which is probably nicer than my house, right? I never really thought that about Gardner because I know he’s not that type of guy. But when I saw the bus, it was even more like, ‘Wow, wow, that really isn’t even a bus. He’s just not that big.’ But I’ve seen him handle it well and actually thrive on it,” Thompson said. “I think it was one of the better things for him to just disconnect.”

Tumbarello’s gym, called CTP (Coach Tumbarello’s Performance), became Minshew’s second home. He woke up and went indoors around 7:30 a.m., where he microwaved his breakfast and drank his coffee while he laid out the plan for the day. They went out onto the field around 8:30 for an hour or two, took a short break, and then went back indoors for practice.

They focused on a range of areas from footwork to arm strength to speed training, Tumbarello said. Thompson came for a few days each week during the off-season. Since Minshew already excels at off-platform throws, they focused on fast rhythm routes with both feet on the ground.

“We were able to pull data every 30 days so we can see what his percentages are,” Tumbarello said. “Its mobility, its flexibility is probably the highest it has ever been. He’s definitely gotten faster, which was huge. You’ll see that eventually show up on the field. Overall he’s stronger, he’s faster, he’s ready. That’s easily the best version of Gardner Minshew.”

Minshew, who was acquired by the Eagles for a conditional sixth-round pick last August, made the most of his limited options in 2021. He went 20-of-25 for 242 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions in a December start against the New York Jets in place of injured Jalen Hurts in a 33-18 win — the first of four straight wins the Eagles have gone into Postseason catapulted.

With 41 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 27 games in the NFL, Minshew, 26, will no doubt want to return to the QB1 status he enjoyed in parts of two seasons in Jacksonville. But Hurts’ show remains, so Minshew’s eye is on the team’s success, according to Thompson.

“The focus of this whole year for him – and that captures his spirit and what he wanted out of this offseason – was that he loves the roster Philly has and he wants a Super Bowl. That was the focus behind everything he has and not once has anyone spoken about his role with the Eagles. His job is to be ready,” he said.

“For him, it’s Super Bowl or broke. With most guys traveling to different islands and stuff like that, he literally lives in the back of a bus outside of his gym and throws three times a week all year round. Even last week, he came to Jacksonville. He has a house in Jacksonville, but he didn’t stay in that house. He parked the bus behind my gym and that’s where he stayed for the few days he was in Jacksonville on his way to Philly. So I think it’s just a commitment to, this is the grind I want, this is the lifestyle I want, and I want it to be all about the ball. And that was the vibe the bus had: This is not luxury accommodation. It’s fun and will get me through the off-season, but my focus is 100% on football.”

The bus days – at least for the time being – are over. Back in Philly for camp, Minshew has put the bus up for sale and is asking $25,000 for it, but said on social media he really just wanted to see her “in a beautiful and loving home,” while noting that it’s perfect could be for Eagles Tailgating.

“It was dreadful [sic] The vet saw 146,000 miles,” Minshew wrote. “When I recently brought her in for service, the mechanic, in his professional opinion, said, and I quote, ‘This thing is great man!'” Philadelphia Eagles’ Gardner Minshew spent offseason in old prison bus, focused on ‘Super Bowl or bust’ – Philadelphia Eagles Blog

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