Donnie Jones is going out on top

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Donnie Jones is going out on top

Donnie Longball is going out a champion. 

After 14 seasons in the NFL, Eagles punter Donnie Jones announced his retirement from the NFL on Tuesday morning. 

During those 14 seasons, Jones played for five different teams, but had been with the Eagles for the last five. At 37 years old, he helped the Eagles win their first Super Bowl in franchise history. 

“After 14 seasons in the NFL, I have decided to retire so that I can spend more time with my family," Jones said in a statement released by the team. "I am grateful for all those who have supported me throughout the years. Specifically, I would like to thank Jeffrey Lurie, Howie Roseman, Doug Pederson, and the entire Eagles organization for allowing me to be a part of their family for the past five seasons. I will truly miss my teammates, coaches, friends, and the best fans in the NFL. 

"Although I am retiring, I will always be an Eagle and will forever have a special place in my heart for the city of Philadelphia. It is a great honor to be a part of the first Super Bowl championship team in Eagles history and there is no better way to finish my career.”

Jones joined the Eagles in 2013 and went on to spend the next five years becoming the greatest punter in team history. He's the Eagles' all-time leader in gross punting average (45.37), net average (40.5) and career punts inside the 20 (138) (see Roob's Donnie Jones stats).

As he retires, Jones leaves behind a consecutive-games-played streak of 208, the third-longest in the NFL. 

Jones was a seventh-round pick of the Seahawks in 2004 and played in 214 regular season games. He was an All-Pro in 2008 and 2009 in St. Louis. 

Aside from being one of the more solid punters in the league throughout his time in Philadelphia, he also became one of the most well-liked players in the locker room despite being a specialist and the oldest guy on the roster. 

“We want to congratulate Donnie Jones on reaching the pinnacle of his career and retiring as a Super Bowl champion," the Eagles said in a statement. "Donnie is a professional in every sense of the word and we wish him all the best in retirement. We owe much of our recent special teams success to Donnie, as evidenced by the numerous franchise punting records he set during his five-year run with the Eagles. We will miss Donnie’s ability on the field, but will also miss his enthusiastic personality and the daily commitment he made to engaging with our community and our fan base.”

Before the 2016 season, Jones told NBC Sports Philadelphia that his goal was to play as long as he could. He thought he had much more left than just one or two seasons. He ended up playing just two more and it seems like going out a champion was appealing to him. 

The only Eagles player who could legally have a drink when Tom Brady won his first Super Bowl, it was pretty clear how much the opportunity to play in Super Bowl LII meant to Jones. "I've been in this league a long time and in my 14th year to have an opportunity to play for a world championship, it means everything," Jones said in the run-up to the big game. "I look back at the sacrifices I've made, different cities I've lived in, moving my wife and kids around, countless hours of preparation and practice, and finally it's all paying off. I couldn't be happier about the opportunity."

With Jones gone, the Eagles still have another punter on their roster. The Birds brought back Cameron Johnston, who was with them during training camp before last season. Johnston went undrafted out of Ohio State in the 2017 draft. He was the Big Ten punter of the year as a senior and his 46.7-yard average was fifth in the nation. 

The Eagles will also see some slight salary cap relief from Jones' retirement. Jones was set to have a cap hit of $1.875 million for this upcoming season. 

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.

Eagles give Chris Long a raise

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Eagles give Chris Long a raise

The Eagles have given veteran defensive end Chris Long a raise, increasing his base salary from $1 million non-guaranteed to $2½ million fully guaranteed.

The move was first reported by Field Yates of ESPN and confirmed by NBC Sports Philadelphia by a source familiar with the renegotiation who added several details.

Including a $500,000 roster bonus that was also in the previous version of the contract, Long will receive $3 million guaranteed this year instead of $1.5 million non-guaranteed plus $750,000 in easily achieved roster bonuses.

The roster bonus the Eagles eliminated was scheduled to pay Long $46,875 for every game in 2018 that he was on the 46-man game-day roster.

According to the source, Long's 2018 cap figure increases from $2.35 million to $3.1 million. The $750,000 increase comes from the $1.5 million base salary increase combined with the elimination of $750,000 in "likely-to-be-earned" incentives.

That $3.1 million cap figure comes from the $2.5 million base salary plus the $500,000 roster bonus and $100,000 in pro-rated signing bonus money from his original $500,000 signing bonus.

The $500,000 roster bonus that carried over from his previous contract isn't technically guaranteed, but Long already received it on the third day of the league year (last week), so we'll call it guaranteed.

The new deal also includes $750,000 in playing-time, performance and team incentive bonuses that are considered "not likely to be earned" and which do not count against the Eagles' 2018 salary cap. 

Long's original deal, signed before last season, was a five-year contract, but the 2019 through 2021 seasons are already guaranteed to void.

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.