Former Philadelphia Eagle Walter Thurmond (or Dick Mahoney) a hit on softball field

PHILADELPHIA -- The legend of Dick Mahoney is growing quickly, and that’s just fine with Walter Thurmond III. Thurmond, who retired from the Philadelphia Eagles after six years as an NFL defensive back, would not confirm speculation that he is really Mahoney.

In a text message Wednesday, Thurmond remained in character. “I’m just Mahoney’s agent,” Thurmond texted.

Mahoney may need one.

The legend took root on a Philadelphia softball team earlier this year. The Philadelphia sports website CrossingBroad.com received an email detailing the story. According to the email, a local softball team sponsored by a bar called The Bishop’s Caller welcomed a new member this season. The player said his name was “Dick Mahoney.” “Mahoney” wore a Los Angeles Dodgers jersey and cap, which covered his flowing Jheri curls. A photo of Mahoney on the website, taken inside The Bishop’s Caller, does resemble Thurmond. The softball team was perplexed by Mahoney at first, but then it was impressed by his prowess on the field.

In his first two games, according to the email sent to CrossingBroad.com, Mahoney hit seven home runs. An eighth was waved off after Mahoney overran a teammate on the basepaths.

One clue to Mahoney’s identity was posted on Instagram by Tiffany Rethwill, whose username is “tiffcherie.” About two months ago, Rethwill posted a photo of a man who bears a striking resemblance to Walter Thurmond with a Dodgers cap and Jheri curls.

Dick Mahoney: Pro slo-pitch softball player, circa 1987. #jerrycurl #moderndaythrowback #warmup

A photo posted by Tiffany Rethwill (@tiffcherie) on

“Dick Mahoney,” Rethwill wrote in the caption. “Pro slo-pitch softball player, circa 1987.”

In earlier Instagram posts, Rethwill is posing with Walter Thurmond at nightspots in Brooklyn and Miami. Thurmond was free to “represent” Mahoney because he decided to retire at age 28 after the 2015 season. Thurmond, who spent one season with the Eagles after stints with the Seattle Seahawks and New York Giants, has said he wants to focus on making films. He started his own production company, Get More Films, and was working on a film about Eddie Levert, the former lead singer of the O'Jays. Just when it seemed obvious that Thurmond actually is Dick Mahoney, the story took another twist, this time on Twitter.

“I know there has been a lot of speculation about myself and @thedickmahoney,” Thurmond tweeted. The Twitter account, opened this month, includes the photo from Rethwill's Instagram account as its profile picture. Thurmond concluded: “As his friend&representative, he apologizes for his abrupt departure from the Collar, but says his return is imminent. Maybe in another sport.” Football, perhaps? We’ll have to wait and see.