How Eric Rowe moved on from Eagles

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How Eric Rowe moved on from Eagles

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — Patriots cornerback Eric Rowe was walking around the floor of Xcel Energy Center with a credential hanging around his neck that read, "Nelson Rowe." 

What's up with that?

"That's my first name," he said, looking down at it. "Eric's my middle name. I just always go by Eric."

Oh. That was news to a few reporters from Philly who happened to gather around him on Monday night. They didn't really have that long to get to know him after all. Rowe was drafted by the Eagles in the second round in 2015, but was traded to the Patriots in September of 2016.

Rowe remembers being shocked at the time of the trade, but it wasn't that surprising for some folks. He had already fallen behind seventh-round pick Jalen Mills and the coaching staff that drafted him was long gone.

It took a while for Rowe to get over the initial shock of getting traded. He didn't get over it until he actually got on the field and started playing. From there, he needed to learn a new defense and a new environment.

Here he is a couple seasons later about to face his former team in Super Bowl LII. He said he doesn't find it too weird. 

"It's interesting though," Rowe said. "I don't know the odds, you get traded from a team and you get to play them in obviously the highest level there is. That's the interesting part. Besides that, shoot, my mindset is it's just like another team. Obviously, it's a great team that you have to get ready for."

Rowe is still close to several of his teammates from Philly. He still talks to Jaylen Watkins, Jordan Hicks and occasionally Rodney McLeod. And he still uses some of the lessons about being a pro he learned from Malcolm Jenkins. 

On Monday, Rowe remembered a long text message he received from Jenkins after the trade. Jenkins told the then-second-year player to keep his head up, to outlast the bad moments because he was going to be a good player. 

It worked out OK for him. In his first season in New England, Rowe got a Super Bowl ring. He's going for No. 2 in a few days. 

How does he look back on his time in Philly? 

"I don't know. Just like a team I was on now," he said. "It's the business of the league. At the time, I was shocked but guys get traded every season. It's obviously nothing new but you have to just move on and keep playing."

It is fitting that Rowe's real name is Nelson, because he's going to line up against a Nelson on Sunday. As the Patriots' nickel corner, Rowe will have to slow down Nelson Agholor, who has had a great season. Agholor was drafted in the first round of the 2015 draft, the round before the Eagles took Rowe. The two faced each other plenty in practice. 

Because the Patriots have two very good starting corners, Rowe has become their nickel guy despite a body frame that seems better suited outside. Still, he thinks the switch has helped him become a better player. 

"Eric's done a good job for us," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. "He's a versatile player who, as you know, played safety in college, played some safety for us. He plays inside. He can do a lot of different things. Smart kid that's long, has good skills, he does a good job of tackling, he does a good job of covering. Again, depending on how our game plan is set up, his role can change from week to week as it does with other players. He's very adaptable to those changes." 

Rowe wasn't in Philly for that long, but he got to know the fan base while he was in town. He knows what a Super Bowl win would mean for Philadelphia, but instead of helping the city get there, he's going to try to stop it. 

"I saw the videos. They were going nuts," Rowe said. "Riots on the streets after the NFC Championship Game. I know how the fan base is, really passionate. I know a Super Bowl to their city, they'd probably tear the city down."

Pederson interviewing 2 for Eagles' OC job

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Pederson interviewing 2 for Eagles' OC job

While many folks are off for Presidents Day, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson is hard at work trying to figure out how to replace Frank Reich. 

Pederson is spending his Monday interviewing running backs coach Duce Staley and wide receivers coach Mike Groh for the Eagles' vacant offensive coordinator position, a league source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia. ESPN's Tim McManus first reported the news Monday. 

It's possible one or both coaches could take over in some sort of offensive coordinator role. 

Reich left his post as offensive coordinator earlier this month when he accepted the head coaching job in Indianapolis. While it might not seem like an OC who doesn't call the plays has a big role, Reich was a good sounding board for Pederson and seemed to be very-well trusted by the head coach. He also helped put the weekly gameplan together. 

It makes sense that the Eagles don't want to go outside the organization to hire an offensive coordinator. Pederson trusts Staley and Groh and the chemistry inside the NovaCare Complex was tremendous during the Eagles' run to Super Bowl LII. 

Either way, Pederson is going to oversee the offense and call plays. Staley or Groh, if one or both are promoted, will handle some extra responsibility, but it'll still all be on Pederson. 

While Staley has been with the Eagles as a coach since 2011, working his way up from a quality control coach to running backs coach in 2013, Groh is a newcomer. He was added to the staff before the 2017 season to take over for Greg Lewis after the Eagles fired him. Groh did an impressive job last season, particularly with helping transform Nelson Agholor from a bust to one of the team's more explosive weapons. 

LeGarrette Blount makes his desire to stay in Philly clear

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LeGarrette Blount makes his desire to stay in Philly clear

LeGarrette Blount is fresh off of his third Super Bowl title and second in two years with two different teams. 

It sounds like he doesn't really want to go to a third team in three years. 

Blount, 31, played on a one-year deal worth around $1.25 million with the Eagles in 2017, but is set to become an unrestricted free agent when the new league year starts on March 14. He made it pretty clear on Sunday that he wouldn't mind coming back to Philly for another run. 

"It's early so we'll see," Blount said on NFL Network. 

"Obviously I like it a lot there. They like me a lot there. It's a mutual respect and a mutual agreement thing about how we feel about each other. Obviously, you guys know how I feel about the team, the guys; I love those guys. 

"I can't say enough about Duce (Staley), just for the simple fact for how well I was coached there and how good he helped me understand things. I feel like Duce is one of the best running back coaches, one of the best coaches I've ever had in my entire life. I obviously want to be a part of that for a while, so we'll see how it goes."

Blount began the year as the Eagles' top running back, but lost some of his role once the team traded for former Pro Bowler Jay Ajayi. But Blount still played a significant role in the Eagles' run to winning Super Bowl LII. 

During the season, he was the team's top rusher with 173 carries for 766 yards and two touchdowns. But then in Super Bowl LII, he had 14 carries for 90 yards and a touchdown, helping the Eagles to a 41-33 win over his former team, the Patriots. 

The Eagles are going to bring back Ajayi and second-year player Corey Clement. After that, things get murky. Blount and Darren Sproles (coming off injury) are both set to become free agents. 

Blount wasn't shy about his love for the Eagles during his interview on Sunday. He cited trust and how they handled the Ajayi trade with him as big reasons why. 

"They talked to me throughout the process of it happening," Blount said. "They were like, 'we're trading for Jay Ajayi, we just want to let you know.' Like I said, that's obviously another big thing for me, the honesty in that building and how open they are and how they don't keep any kind of secrets for you. They just tell you how it is. It's a big respect thing. Duce was the first person to reach out to me and be like, 'hey, we traded for Jay Ajayi. I just want to let you know.' Again, man, that's why it's a place that I love and I hope to stay there." 

Late in the six-and-a-half minute video, the crew brought out Clement while Blount was answering a question about the rookie. Blount laughed during the middle of his answer, but then got back on track and praised Clement. The two became very close during the 2017 season. 

After Blount's answer, Clement got to chat with his teammate and said getting to work with Blount was a "tremendous opportunity" and would clearly like to keep the core group together in the running back room next season. 

Obviously, it's not up to Clement, but Blount will play a big role and we already know what he thinks of the Eagles.