Eagles

Brent Celek nominated for Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award

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USA Today Images

Brent Celek nominated for Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award

Brent Celek doesn't complain. 

The 32-year-old tight end and longest-tenured member of the Eagles used to put up numbers. He used to be a receiving tight end and nearly had a 1,000-yard season back in 2009. 

But as Celek has aged and after Zach Ertz was brought in, his role has changed greatly. He has become a backup and a blocker. And his attitude hasn't changed one bit. 

That's exactly why he has been named the Eagles' nominee for the 2017 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award. All 32 teams nominate a player. The award, which recognizes players who "exemplify outstanding sportsmanship on the field," will be handed out on Feb. 3. 

"He's a team player, ultimate Philly guy," tight ends coach Justin Peelle said last week. "Brent's the best. Ever since Zach got here, he's welcomed him with open arms, he's taken him under his wing and has shown him little things here and there. It's never been a competition. Brent's whole thing is he just wants to win. Brent understands that it takes all 53 guys to win. Brent has been a really good role model for Zach and Trey so that's just who Brent it. He's the ultimate team guy and that's what you love on him."

This is the fourth year for the award, named after the late owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Frank Gore (2016), Charles Woodson (2015) and Larry Fitzgerald (2014) have won before. The Eagles nominated Darren Sproles last season. 

Coming into the Denver game, Celek had just four catches for 33 yards on the season. Against the Broncos, with Ertz out, Celek caught three passes for 39 yards. 

After the game, Celek admitted it felt "great" to be involved in the passing game, even if it was just for one week (see story).

Celek still has some ability as a pass-catcher, as he proved against Denver, but he's not going to take opportunities away from Ertz, who has been the most productive receiving tight end in the NFL this season. 

And Celek probably won't take away many opportunities from Trey Burton, who has also proven to be a viable option in the passing game. 

But Celek doesn't complain and his attitude has rubbed off on all of the tight ends. 

"I think that whole room has that mindset of it's all about the team," Peelle said. "There's no individual. Whatever the tight ends can do to help the team win, that's what they're going to do. They all buy into that and they all believe that. That's the great thing about coaching those guys."

Eagles' Ronald Darby defends Buccaneers' Jameis Winston against groping allegations

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AP Images

Eagles' Ronald Darby defends Buccaneers' Jameis Winston against groping allegations

Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby on Sunday morning released a statement defending friend, former Florida State teammate and current Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston against allegations Winston inappropriately groped an Uber driver during a ride in Arizona in March 2016.

News of the allegations came to light early last week and the NFL is investigating the Uber driver's claims. Darby says he was in the backseat of the car with Winston on the night of the alleged groping.

"I felt the need to come forward and clarify some inaccurate accounts of the evening March 13, 2016 when myself, a friend and Jameis Winston took an Uber ride in Arizona," Darby said in Sunday's statement. "There were three of us in the car, not just one, as has been reported. Myself and Jameis were in the backseat. I am confident that nothing inappropriate in nature happened in the car that evening and Jameis did not have any physical contact with the Uber driver. The accusations are just not true."

Darby and Winston played together at FSU from 2012-2014 and formed a close bond. But it was during that time at FSU that Winston, the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner, came into the limelight for a variety of wrong reasons.

While redshirting in 2012, he was detained by police causing property damage with a a BB gun. In April 2014, he was cited for shoplifting crab legs from a supermarket and subsequently suspended from the Seminoles' baseball team. He was suspended for a game against Clemson in September 2014 for shouting an inappropriate phrase in a cafeteria.  

But most notably, Winston was accused of sexually assaulting FSU student Erica Kinsman during an alleged December 2012 incident in his apartment. Winston was never charged by police in Tallahassee, where FSU is located, and the Florida state attorney's office also did not pursue criminal charges.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Darby was in Winston's apartment the night of the alleged sexual assault.

That case turned into a federal lawsuit that was eventually settled in December 2016.

Gunn on One: Lane Johnson on his family's love for the Cowboys

Gunn on One: Lane Johnson on his family's love for the Cowboys

Trench warfare will be watched closely in this Eagles-Cowboys matchup. Recently I stepped to the line of scrimmage to face right tackle Lane Johnson for the latest Gunn on One. Lane talked about going back home, who’s the best right tackle in the game, and his upcoming one on one matchup.

Gunn: You’re from Texas, so what’s it like to have family and friends who want to see you do well, but will be just as happy if the Cowboys beat the Eagles?

Johnson: That’s all I’ve been dealing with for five years, so there will be a little less tickets this year, that’s all I gotta say (laughter). If they want to root for the Cowboys, I have a little less seats for them in the stadium that day.

Gunn: Are you the best right tackle in the game today?

Johnson: I feel like I am, not arrogantly, but I try to put good stuff on tape. I try to have that wow factor in games.

Gunn: You get to face a guy named DeMarcus Lawrence who currently leads the NFL in sacks with 11.5. That’s more than he’s had in his previous three seasons in the league combined. When you look at him on film right now what jumps out about the way he’s playing at such a high level?

Johnson: I see a guy that’s pretty similar to me, a hungry guy. One thing that I think that has improved with him is his playing strength, and his hands. He’s really good with his hands. He’s a lot better than what he has been in the past. He’s been striking guys that are leaning or punching, trying to put their hands in his chest. He’s really good at separating himself, getting distance, and chopping hands. I have to be keyed in on every play.

You can see my extended conversation with Lane Sunday on Eagles PreGame Live between 6:30 and 8 p.m. on NBC Sports Philadelphia.