New Eagles LB Nelson ready to compete for Kendricks' job

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New Eagles LB Nelson ready to compete for Kendricks' job

Corey Nelson has primarily been a backup and a special teams player during his first four seasons in the NFL. He now wants desperately to be a starter. 

It’s telling he thinks he can do that in Philadelphia. 

At the 25-year-old’s introductory press conference on Thursday afternoon, Nelson said the Eagles told him he’ll be competing at the weakside linebacker position, which is currently occupied by Mychal Kendricks and his $7.6 million cap hit.

Go ahead and cue the Kendricks trade rumors for yet another offseason.

“I kind of wanted to go out on a limb and show people I can be a starter in this league,” Nelson said. “The Eagles gave me the opportunity to be able to compete, to work hard to earn that right.” 

If Nelson is going to compete to be the Eagles’ starting WILL linebacker, he’s not going to be competing with Kendricks because if Kendricks is still on the roster, he’s going to be starting. Now, of course teams will promise guys more opportunity in free agency, so maybe we have to take the Eagles’ talking up competition to Nelson with a grain of salt. But if they were serious about that, it might mean the end of Kendricks’ long and strange run in Philadelphia. 

But what about Nelson? 

He played just 44 defensive snaps last season but grew into an important part of the Broncos’ special teams groups. Coming to Philadelphia is a part of his plan to shed the label of being a “special teamer.” 

“It definitely was important to me,” Nelson said. “A lot of guys get labeled as things, just like practice squad guys. They kind of get labeled as practice squad guys. You kind of don’t want to be labeled as that. You want to be able to showcase your talent and show people that you’re better than what they say you are if the opportunity presents itself and if you’re able to handle that.” 

Nelson is recovering from a torn biceps that limited him to just five games in 2017. On Thursday, he said he’s 90 percent healthy and expects to be 100 percent by mid-April for the start of offseason workouts. He’s at 235 pounds now and thinks that would be adequate to play linebacker for the Eagles. 

When Nelson did get his rare chance to play defense for the Broncos, he said he did a little bit of everything. He played on all three downs and was asked to cover running backs, tight ends and even the occasional wide receiver. In Philly, he’ll play in a much different scheme than the one Vance Joseph runs in Denver.

When asked what he knows about Jim Schwartz, Nelson said he knows he “has a kick-ass defense.”

“I saw them on TV a lot,” he said. “I like their linebackers. Jordan Hicks, that’s my guy. Been knowing him since high school. I love watching Nigel Bradham go out there and ball out. I watched them quite a bit and I knew these guys are the real deal.”

Nelson failed to mention Kendricks. Maybe it was an oversight; maybe it wasn’t. Either way, it seemed fitting, especially if he ends up taking his job. 

Brandon Brooks restructuring deal for Nick Foles a 'no-brainer'

Brandon Brooks restructuring deal for Nick Foles a 'no-brainer'

A few days ago, the Eagles and Nick Foles agreed to rework his contract.

The restructured deal included a $2 million signing bonus and incentives based on whether Foles starts and reaches certain goals, plus a mutual option for 2019 (see story). Monday, it became clearer how the Eagles were able to get Foles more money up front when Pro Bowl offensive guard Brandon Brooks tweeted this:

Brooks restructured his current deal last Friday to help out his quarterback (see story)

NBC Sports Philadelphia had Brooks and RT Lane Johnson on Quick Slants Monday. Brooks had this to say about the restructure and his tweet:

Whenever it comes to a restructure, I just wanted to throw it out there — one, to clarify as far as exactly what happened and then two, probably the most important thing is look at what Nick did. I literally did whatever it took to get him extra money. I mean, everything he’s done for us as a team, for us as a city. The Super Bowl MVP. You know, going out there, launching that thing every week. The leader he is. The high character guy he is. And when they approached me about it, it was kind of like, 'Nah,' but then after understanding it was for Nick Foles, then I said, 'Without question, let’s go ahead and get it done.' He deserves it, he brought the first championship to the city, so it was a no-brainer, without question for me.

Brooks' close friend and linemate Johnson added:

The man was thrown into the fire and came out on top. I mean, he was really thrown into a tough situation and only had two weeks the last part of the season to kind of get in a rhythm, and you know how those games went. The guy went out there and delivered. I’m just so proud of him. It couldn’t have happened to a better guy. We’re all happy for him.

As it gets closer to the 2018 NFL draft, the rumors continue to swirl that Foles could be traded. If it happens, a number of his teammates have told me Foles deserves his own team.

Will Foles be in Eagles green come September? Only time will tell, but whether he’s here or elsewhere, Foles will always have the respect and admiration from a group of guys who completed a magical season.

Eagles in contact with the White House about possible visit

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Eagles in contact with the White House about possible visit

After winning Super Bowl LI, the Patriots visited the White House on April 19, 2017. 

You might have noticed that April 19 has come and gone this year and there hasn’t been much talk of the Super Bowl champion Eagles visiting the relatively new home of President Donald Trump. 

But on Monday, the New York Times reported that discussions about a possible Eagles trip to the White House have begun.

The Eagles confirmed that report with the following in a statement: “We have been in contact with White House representatives and are currently discussing the logistics of an upcoming visit to Washington. We are honored to receive this invitation and view this not only as an opportunity to be recognized for our on-field achievements, but also as an opportunity to engage in productive dialogue with the leaders of our country."

This is the first time the Eagles have publicly spoken about a trip to the White House and the first time they’ve revealed they have been invited. When asked about the possible trip last month at the annual league meetings, Eagles owner Jeff Lurie didn’t seem very eager to speak about the topic. 

“We just won the Super Bowl,” Lurie said in Orlando last month. “I haven’t had any of those discussions. I have no idea. It’s just … I haven’t had those discussions.” 

The idea that the visit to the White House could be an opportunity for dialogue is an interesting one. Normally, these things are pretty much photo opportunities, but perhaps that’s part of the discussion. 

As you might guess, an Eagles trip to the White House is a pretty tricky trip to figure out. 

The Eagles have several players — Malcolm Jenkins, Chris Long, Torrey Smith — who have already said publicly that they wouldn’t attend. And last year when the Patriots won, Long and LeGarrette Blount were not among the group that went. Aside from that, Lurie, who donated money to Hilary Clinton’s presidential campaign, is considered one of the more liberal owners in the league. 

“We have been in conversations with the Eagles about timing and are working with them to make it happen,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, via the New York Times. “We hope to have something finalized in the next couple of weeks.”

According to the New York Times story, Lurie had strong criticism for Trump at a private league meeting last October as owners, players and executives met weeks after Trump scolded the NFL and players, which brought more league-wide protesting during the national anthem. During those meetings, Lurie described Trump’s presidency as “disastrous” and reportedly used a vulgarity to emphasize that opinion. 

This is not the first time an Eagle has had harsh words for Trump. Last September, Jenkins said Trump was “no different than a troll on social media.” 

The Eagles are the first Super Bowl-winning team after Trump’s attacks on the league and its players who had chosen to demonstrate during the national anthem. Last September, Trump said, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’”

The week after Trump made those comments, protests became more wide-spread throughout the league, with entire teams demonstrating and showing unity. The Eagles — players, coaches and executives, including Lurie — locked arms as the Star-Spangled Banner was performed.