Eagles excited for pep talk from the ultimate gunslinger

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Eagles excited for pep talk from the ultimate gunslinger

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — The Eagles will be visited by a special guest the day before they face the Patriots in Super Bowl LII. 

Head coach Doug Pederson on Wednesday said his former teammate and NFL Hall of Famer Brett Favre will stop by the Radisson Blu in the Mall of America on Saturday morning and speak to the Eagles in a team meeting. 

"I figure that since he was going to be in town, just asked him," Pederson said. 

Pederson was Favre's backup for seven seasons in Green Bay and the two have remained close friends. Pederson said he knew Favre would be in Minnesota for the Super Bowl and decided a talk from a former Super Bowl winner could help his team. Earlier in the season, in Los Angeles, Pederson and the Eagles brought in Kobe Bryant to speak to the team. 

While that Kobe talk was big for several guys, hearing Favre on Saturday will certainly be a thrill for others, including quarterback Nick Foles, who has referred to himself as a "gunslinger" in the past. Favre is the ultimate gunslinger. 

"He's one of the greatest to ever play the game," Foles said. "And just his style of play, his toughness. He is a true gunslinger. Rocket arm, can throw it from any angle, off his back foot, he can just throw it anywhere he wants. 

"And he's been there, he's won the big game, he's won big games, he's played a lot, a lot of football. So anytime you have an opportunity to listen to someone like him speak, it's huge. I can't wait to listen to what wisdom and knowledge he gives us and I know everyone on our team will be excited to hear him speak."

Favre, 48, last played for the Vikings in 2010 but obviously spent most of his Hall of Fame career in Green Bay. He won Super Bowl XXXI against the Patriots in 1997 in the Superdome in New Orleans. In that game, Favre completed 14 of 27 passes for 246 yards and two touchdowns. He had a passer rating of 107.9. 

You can bet 6-year-old Lane Johnson was back in his hometown in Texas watching that game. While Johnson grew up in Texas, he was a big Packers fan. He has never met Favre before, so he's obviously looking forward to Saturday morning. 

What does he want to get out of it?  

"Just his perspective," Johnson said. "You think you know what he's about. Just watching him, I liked how much passion he played the game (with), that gunslinger mentality. You throw an interception, who gives a damn? Keep it coming. Just growing up, I idolized that trait about him. I think that's what people loved about Brett and loved being a teammate of his. I think it's just going to be a lot of fun. I'm anxious to hear him."

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.