Jason Spradlin, left, points out Hank Baskett on the screen to his father Don on Monday at Kelley’s Bar and Grill.The Spradlins hope to get tickets when the Eagles play at Dallas. (Staff photo: Tony Bullocks)
By Greg Price: CNJ sports writer
Don and Jason Spradlin sat amongst a crowd sprinkled in front of a big screen TV at Kelley’s Bar and grill watching the Monday Night Football match up between the Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles.
The Eagles beat Green Bay 31-9, but the Spradlins and others came to watch Hank Baskett, the Clovis native signed by the Eagles as a free agent after the 2006 NFL draft.
A training camp phenom, Baskett caught a career-high two passes for 27 yards in his Monday Night football debut. He has four catches for 52 yards this season for the NFC East-leading Eagles (3-1).
The Spradlins said they have known Baskett for a long time and consider him to be family.
“We’ve known Hank since he was playing T-ball,” Jason Spradlin said. “I even went by to see him on draft day. I haven’t seen him since then, but that’s cause he’s got a job now.”
Don Spradlin said he’s always been a Dallas Cowboys supporter, but has decided to watch the game of his team’s division rival because of Baskett.
“I root for him,” Don Spradlin said, “not because he’s an Eagle, but because he’s Hank.”
While not everyone in Clovis can call Baskett family, members of the community still support his efforts of fulfilling his childhood dream.
Byron Grant, originally of Arizona, said he has not followed Baskett’s progress consistently but rather has picked up bits of information from talking to people around the city.
“He didn’t drop a pass at camp,” Grant said. “I hope he gets a bunch of balls thrown to him and a bunch of numbers.”
Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb threw to Baskett four times in the first half.
With 1:30 left in the second quarter and the Eagles driving, McNabb sailed a deep ball to the left sideline where Baskett caught it and was later pushed out of bounds.