Eagles

For Alshon Jeffery, decision to stay in Philly wasn't hard

For Alshon Jeffery, decision to stay in Philly wasn't hard

SEATTLE — Even after Sunday's crushing loss to the Seahawks, there was one way to squeeze the tiniest little smile out of Alshon Jeffery. 

Ask him about the next four years. 

The day before the 24-10 loss to the Seahawks, Jeffery signed a four-year, $52 million contract extension that will keep him with the Eagles through the 2021 season. 

"Trying to build something special, trying to start something special, the culture here," Jeffery said late Sunday night, speaking publicly for the first time since signing the new deal. "I feel like I'm blessed to be a part of the Philadelphia Eagles. ... Everybody welcomed me with open arms."

Jeffery, 27, signed a one-year contract to join the Eagles in March but found out pretty early on that he wanted to sign a long-term deal to stay in Philly. He wanted it bad enough that he gave up his chance to hit the open market again this offseason. 

When did he know he wanted to be in Philly for a long time? 

"I think the first day I came here," Jeffery said. "The chemistry, just being one of the guys in the locker room. No matter what goes on, on the field, it's our locker room. We're tight. We're more like family."

Part of that family is franchise quarterback Carson Wentz, who has been playing at an MVP level for most of the 2017 season. Wentz is just 24, so the idea of being able to grow with a young quarterback probably played a huge role in Jeffery's wanting to re-sign. 
 
"The sky's the limit for Carson," Jeffery said. "The sky's the limit for this team. We've got to keep building. Right now, we're just focused on LA." 

After a few questions about his contract, Jeffery didn't want to talk about it anymore. Showing the same selflessness he has all season, he didn't really care on Sunday night about his new deal. The Eagles had just lost by 14 points to a team they thought they should have beaten. 

Jeffery said he thought the Eagles beat themselves and it was "something that we probably needed." 

The day after signing the extension, Jeffery didn't have a great game against Seattle. He finished with four catches for 61 yards and failed to catch a touchdown pass for the first time since Oct. 23. All of Jeffery's four catches came in the second half. He didn't have a single target in the first two quarters. 

So Jeffery was happy to answer a few questions about his contract but wanted the focus off of himself. He wanted the focus on the Los Angeles Rams. Jeffery's Eagles play them in less than a week at the Coliseum. 

"I appreciate everything that's been going on behind the scenes with the contract, but we're just focused on LA," Jeffery said. "The contract situation is what it is. We can talk more about that during the week, but right now I'm just focused on LA, man." 

Quite a Christmas present coming for Jordan Hicks

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USA Today Images

Quite a Christmas present coming for Jordan Hicks

It won't be a surprise, but Jordan Hicks is going to get a pretty great Christmas present this year. 

He won't find it under his tree either. 

Hicks, who has been recovering from a torn Achilles tendon and surgery, will hit another big milestone in his recovery on Dec. 25. That's the day the walking boot comes off of his right foot. 

"Real good present, right?" Hicks said. 

Hicks, 25, tore his right Achilles on the second play from scrimmage against Washington on Oct. 23. Having already torn his left Achilles in college, Hicks knew immediately that his season was over and a long recovery was ahead of him. 

But Hicks has no doubt he'll return to being the same player he was before. He thinks he'll be even better. 

"Oh there's no question about that," Hicks said on Friday, speaking to a group of reporters in the Eagles' locker room for the first time since the injury. "There's no question about that. I'll be fine. I did my left Achilles in college and came back better. I know more, the advancements are better. There's no doubt in my mind I'll be a better player when I come back."

Hicks said the normal recovery time from an Achilles rupture is six to nine months. The six-month mark will be April. He expects to be back for training camp and be completely ready for next season. 

Before suffering this Achilles tear, Hicks had been dealing with an ankle injury on his left leg. Hicks, who has been labeled as an injury-prone player since college, was very proud of playing all 16 games in 2016. So when that ankle injury popped up earlier this season, he tried to play through it. That ankle injury led to a calf injury in his right leg and then the Achilles popped. Hicks thinks overcompensating for the initial injury led to a more serious one. 

"I think a couple weeks could have helped me, but it's always easy to look back," Hicks said. "Hindsight is 20/20. I wouldn't change anything just because it's my personality. It's who I am. All I want to do is be there for my teammates. Every time I step out there, the biggest goal for me is to have my teammates know that I'm their leader and I can be accountable. For me to sit here and say I shouldn't have been out there those weeks, it's hard for me to say that because all I want to do is be out there."

Hicks lasted just a couple plays in that Washington game before his Achilles popped, which put him right back on that road to recovery. And initially, it wasn't easy. Jason Peters joined him in the locker room a quarter later with his own season-ending injury and tried to raise his spirits, but that didn't change the fact that Hicks' season was over.

And for the second time in his three-year career, he knew he would end the season on injured reserve. 

"The grief set in," he said. "For the first week or so, it was tough, but man, there's no time for that. There's no time to sit here and sulk. There's no time to think about what could have been. ... All I'm focusing on is making sure I'm better and ready next year for my guys. That's all it is. For me, it's about accountability."

While Hicks made a rare appearance in the Eagles' locker room during media time on Friday, he's been around the building plenty. He and the Eagles' other injured players have remained involved despite their injuries. In fact, every week, Hicks studies opponent film to see how they handle blitzes. And every Friday, he gets in front of the defense to present it. 

After the injury, Jim Schwartz came to him and asked him to do this. 

"It's easy to isolate yourself in situations like this," Hicks said. "For him to come up to me and ask me to do that was big. I try to keep guys' spirits up and share my perspective." 

For the last month and a half, Hicks has been around the team but has been forced to watch games on TV, which he said is really tough. He hopes that's about to end. He'll be in North Jersey this weekend for the Giants game and hopes he'll be back on the sideline. 

"It's tough," Hicks said. "It's never easy to go through something like this. It tests your patience, this tests your character. You learn a lot through these times because it is so difficult. You have to really grind through some hard times. Put your head down and I think your character is really shown through this."

Nick Foles may not have full protection vs. Giants

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Nick Foles may not have full protection vs. Giants

The Eagles will have a new quarterback this weekend, but they might not be able to protect him as well as they hope. 

Starting left guard Stefen Wisniewski will officially be listed as questionable for Sunday's game because of an ankle injury. 

Wiz had to leave the Rams game in the first half and did not return. He missed practice on Wednesday and was limited on Thursday. 

"We'll see where he's at today," head coach Doug Pederson said on Friday. 

After Wisniewski came out of the Rams game, he was replaced by Chance Warmack, who was then replaced by Isaac Seumalo. 

It sounds like Warmack will have the first chance to play this weekend if Wisniewski can't go. 

"We've worked Chance at that position this week," Pederson said. "Isaac has obviously gotten some reps really at all the positions but that would be the most logical."

Seumalo actually began the season as the team's starting left guard after he won the position in the offseason. From there, Warmack got the first crack at replacing him when he was benched, but Warmack couldn't keep the job, eventually giving way to a rotation before Wisniewski simply took over. The line has been much better since Wiz took over the starting job in Week 3. 

Alshon Jeffery and Steven Means, who both missed Thursday's practice with illnesses, will be back on the practice field on Friday. Both should be fine for this weekend's game. 

The Eagles will practice outside in 28-degree weather on Friday as they prepare for Sunday's outdoor game at MetLife Stadium. 

No word on the condition of the recycling can Jason Kelce kicked inside the bubble after getting cleated on Thursday. At least the outdoor practice will give it another day of rest.