Former Eagle Jon Dorenbos turned to magic to cope, now has 2nd career

Christie Ileto Image
Friday, April 5, 2019
EMBED <>More Videos

Former Pro Bowl Eagle Jon Dorenbos trades his helmet for magic tricks. Christie Ileto has more on Action News at 11 p.m. on April 4, 2019.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- His tricks stunned the crowds at the Jewish Family and Children service dinner in Spring Garden Thursday, but for former Philadelphia Eagle Jon Dorenbos, his magic act is personal.

The organization helps children in the Philadelphia foster system, something the Pro Bowler knows all too well.

"I did use magic as a coping mechanism and to find peace, but I didn't realize it at the time," said Jon Dorenbos.

Orphaned after his father killed his mom, Dorenbos and his sister went into the system.

"I look back and every time I was troubled or lonely, I just sat down and shuffled. I didn't worry about the outside problems," he said.

Magic, once his outlet, is now his second career.

The Eagles tried to trade him to the Saints after 11 seasons in 2016. It was then, a mandatory physical showed he had a heart aneurysm. That physical saved his life.

Since retirement, he's appeared on 'Ellen' and even made it all the way to the finals of 'America's Got Talent.'

"He could headline anywhere and we're very lucky to have him here," said David Solomon of Penn Valley, Pa..

"I think it's wonderful that he's doing that, and his magic is pretty good," said Matt Pestronk of Gladwyne, Pa..

Action News asked Dorenbos what is his message for kids who might be struggling with something similar.

Dorenbos said, "When life kicks me down, I'm going get up, dust myself off, and do it all over again. And I'm going to believe that the world is better than the situation I'm in right here, right now."