By Ryan Marshall – DelmarvaNow

With football in the NFC East being so bad, let’s not forget an Delaware icon.

The NFC East is set for a down year.

It’s early, but right now none of these teams are ready for a playoff push.

The Eagles have forgotten how to play football.

The Cowboys are all injured.

The Redskins are emerging as the team to beat.

That doesn’t sound right, nor will it last.

And the Giants, who should be 2-0, can’t close a game.

Never before had I been this excited for an Eagles season. Never have I been let down this much. I still have faith in Chip Kelly, but it’s fading fast.

While all this is set to change in the next 2-4 weeks, one of Delaware’s most beloved athletes won an honor of her own.

That’s where I found my solace over the pain of the NFL.

University of Delaware grad and No. 2 overall pick Elena Delle Donne won the WNBA MVP on Sept. 16.

The 26-year-old then went on to score 40 points for the Chicago Sky, two shy of the WNBA playoff record. Chicago was knocked out of the playoffs but it was still a year to remember for Delle Donne, with the scoring title and MVP award.

This all comes after her well-documented struggle with Lyme’s Disease that forced her to miss more than half of the Sky’s regular-season games in the previous season.

“That was pretty scary last year,” Delle Donne told The News Journal, “just seeing if I’d be healthy enough to be on the court. When I finally felt like I was able to get the Lyme under control I had the back injury.

“It does make it that much sweeter this year that I was able to be on the court almost every single game with my teammates and do something really special as a group.”

Delle Donne also provided me with one of the biggest sporting events in my young journalism career. My senior year at UD, Delle Donne and the rest of the women’s basketball team made it to the 2013 Sweet 16 after hosting the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament in Newark.

It was the loudest I had ever heard the Bob Carpenter Center in those wins against West Virginia and North Carolina.

The trip to Bridgeport, Connecticut, was worth it even in the Blue Hens’ loss to Kentucky.

Needless to say, she’s been one of my favorite athletes for the simple reason that I got to go to school with her and talk about sports, much like Atlanta Falcons linebacker Paul Worrilow, who also played lacrosse on my brother’s high school team.

Delle Donne always had the skills and height to compete at the college level, but it’s a true testament to her work ethic to battle Lyme’s Disease while going toe-to-toe with the WNBA’s best.

And with the state of the Philadelphia Eagles being so bad, that’s just the kind of news I needed.