Blown away, Jeff Lurie says this is for YOU

Blown away, Jeff Lurie says this is for YOU

MINNEAPOLIS — All these years later, the Eagles truly are the gold standard.

Jeff Lurie was right. It just took a little longer than he wanted.

In his 24th season as owner of the Eagles, Lurie finally got to hold the Lombardi Trophy high over his head Sunday night after his Eagles beat the Patriots — a team he once tried to buy — 41-33 in Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium (see breakdown).

Lurie said this championship was extra special to him because of how much this team was doubted outside Philadelphia and how much adversity it overcame, including the loss of Carson Wentz (see story).

“When I talked to the team on Friday, the first thing I said was, 'I’m so proud of the men who are part of this,'" Lurie said. 

"This is the most unique and impressive groups of young men, whether it’s the players, the coaches, [the scouting] staff, just incredibly resilient.

"In life today, it’s so polarized. To have people who can actually work together and solve big issues, like how to win a world championship, it’s impressive what caring and trust and camaraderie and high energy and focus and discipline can do, and that’s what this team was all about."

The Eagles have been very competitive during most of Lurie's tenure, reaching the playoffs 13 times in the last 23 years and going 206-160-2 during those 23 seasons, the sixth-best record in the NFL during that span and second best in the NFC.

But all those seasons ended in losses.

This one will end in a parade (see Roob's observations).

“For me, when I picture moments when we were about to win a world championship, I think first of all the generations of fans," Lurie said.

"People want to be buried in Eagles paraphernalia, Eagles uniforms, Eagles flags, and [you think of] all the players who came before, you think about that. In that moment.

"The heart and tears that have gone into it for so long. I’m just so happy for our fans. I have to keep saying that.

“To be able to do that with the adversity that we had, basically doubted the whole season, yet we were the best team in football really wire to wire, it’s a credit to all these people. An incredible group of young men.”

Lurie hasn't always been treated the best by Eagles fans, who saw him in earlier years as just a rich guy from Boston who had deep pockets but didn't know how to win.

The reality is that Lurie has spent an incredible amount of money on free agents over the years, he got the Linc and NovaCare Complex built, and most importantly he saw qualities in Doug Pederson that maybe few others saw, and he built a culture in which someone like Pederson, who preaches teamwork and team-first concepts, could come in and have tremendous success.

Maybe now those fans will see Lurie for what he really is. A good man and exceptional owner, who wanted nothing more than to win a championship for his adopted hometown.

"I'm just so happy for our fans," Lurie said. "It's been something that I live every single day for. When I bought the team, all I wanted was to bring a championship to the most deserving fans in sports."

More money might not be enough to keep Chris Long in Philly

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More money might not be enough to keep Chris Long in Philly

The Eagles have given veteran defensive end Chris Long a raise, but according to one report, Long is concerned enough about his playing time with the Eagles that he's mulling his options regarding his future.

What is certain is that at some point before March 15, Long signed a new contract with the Eagles that increases his 2018 base salary from $1 million non-guaranteed to $2½ million fully guaranteed.

However, NFL Network's Michael Silver reported Monday that Long may decide he doesn't want to accept the new contract — which he already signed.

According to Silver, Long is concerned about how many snaps he would get as a third-down rusher following the addition of Pro Bowl pass rusher Michael Bennett.

The Eagles officially acquired Bennett on March 14, although the deal was reported a week earlier. Long's new contract was filed with the NFLPA on March 15, but there is a good chance he agreed to it and signed it before the Bennett acquisition.

Whether or not Long knew Bennett was coming to the Eagles when he signed the restructured deal is unknown. But at some point Long knew about their interest in Bennett and even gave Bennett a "glowing recommendation" when the Eagles asked, according to an interview Long gave to SBNation.  

Long wouldn't appear to have many options. He could retire, in which case he would have to return the $500,000 bonus he received from the Eagles last week.

He could request a trade, which would be bizarre for someone who signed a contract extension just a few days earlier.

Or he could simply play under the terms of the contract restructure and pay increase, which was first reported by Field Yates of ESPN and confirmed by NBC Sports Philadelphia with a source familiar with the renegotiation.

As for the contract itself, including that $500,000 roster bonus — which was also in the previous version of the contract — Long would receive $3 million guaranteed this year instead of $1.5 million non-guaranteed plus $750,000 in easily achieved roster bonuses.

Long had five sacks and forced four fumbles last year as a rotational defensive end. He wound up playing 496 snaps, 10th-most on the defense and only about 10 per game fewer than starter and Pro Bowler Brandon Graham and five per game fewer than starter Vinny Curry, who the Eagles released.

Long, who turns 33 next week, has 63½ career sacks. His 5.0 sacks last year were his most since 2013. He's won back-to-back Super Bowls the last two years with the Eagles and Patriots.

What happens next?

Long has demonstrated that the money is secondary to him. He donated his entire 2017 base salary to charity.

At some point very soon, the Eagles will need him to decide whether he's even going to have a 2018 base salary.

Terrell Owens digs deep to find his Hall of Fame presenter

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Terrell Owens digs deep to find his Hall of Fame presenter

A day after we found out that Brian Dawkins picked Troy Vincent to introduce him at the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony this summer, Terrell Owens has picked his presenter. 

No surprise: It's not Donovan McNabb.

After alienating many people in the league throughout his tremendous career, Owens picked a name from his early days. Longtime NFL assistant coach George Stewart, who was Owens' receivers coach in San Francisco, will introduce T.O. at the 2018 induction. 

In a video released by the Hall of Fame, Owens said Stewart "knew what to get out of me."

Now special teams coordinator and assistant head coach for the Chargers, Stewart has been an NFL coach for three decades. He began his time in San Francisco in 1996 (Owens' rookie season) as a special teams coach but was their wide receivers coach from 2000-02.

"Things that George Stewart may say, it may be shocking to a lot of people, but not to him because he knows who I am," Owens said. "... To know who Terrell Owens is, you really have to spend some time with him. Fast forward, George Stewart became a father figure to me."

The first season Stewart became the 49ers' receivers coach, Owens went to his first of six Pro Bowls and was named an All-Pro for the first of five times in his career. Owens was a Pro Bowler and an All-Pro in all three of the seasons that Stewart held the position in San Francisco. 

Of course, Owens' growth under Stewart led to his becoming one of the biggest stars in the NFL.

Eventually, Owens forced his way out of San Francisco and got to Philadelphia. With the Eagles, Owens had a short and tumultuous two seasons, but was also dynamic on the field and nearly helped them pull off a Super Bowl win over the Patriots. 

Owens averaged 93.5 receiving yards per game during his time in Philadelphia, the highest average in franchise history. It wasn't his play that led to his downfall in Philly. It was his beef with McNabb, along with his attempt to strong-arm the Eagles into a new contract. 

Owens was a divisive personality for his entire career. It's likely the reason it took him three tries to make it into the Hall of Fame. Because his numbers don't lie: He's one of the best receivers of all time.