Nigel Bradham's payday proof Eagles were right to stand by him

Nigel Bradham's payday proof Eagles were right to stand by him

The first arrest, for aggravated assault, came in July 2016 at a Miami hotel. The second, at Miami Airport, was four months later — a misdemeanor concealed weapons charge.

Nigel Bradham didn’t like the way his life was going, and he decided to do something about it.

“Obviously, I went through some things and made some changes and got things right, figured it out,” Bradham said Thursday, after officially signing his five-year, $40 million contract with the Eagles.

“And I knew what I had to do and luckily for me I had an organization that stuck with me and was able to stand by me during that whole process and I was able to overcome it.”

What changed?

“Just looking at myself and probably some of the people I was around and things like that,” he said. “Just taking a step back and realizing, ‘Why is all this happening?’

“Obviously, I’m a good guy and I’m really laid back and really chill, but some things were just going different for me, and I can’t really say exactly what it was, but I made some changes and it ended up working out for the better. ...

“I set goals to overcome it. I was doing things, trying to help youth, things like that, pretty much just to show them [who I was]. Everybody goes through something. It’s not just all glory. 

“But I’m here today, and I overcame that and I feel like you go through adversity sometimes but that’s life and that’s what it’s all about.”

Bradham, 28, signed with the Eagles in March 2016, so he was still relatively new here when his arrests occurred. 

There was some thought the Eagles would release him or suspend him back in the fall of 2016, but the Eagles stuck with him, and he wound up playing well that year and then had an exceptional season and postseason in 2017 for the Super Bowl champions.

That earned him a new contract that makes him the NFL’s 22nd-highest-paid linebacker and the eighth-highest-paid member of the Eagles based on average annual salary. (A closer look at the deal, though, shows it's actually extremely friendly to the Eagles.)

Bradham said the fact the Eagles stuck with him during some very difficult times had a lot to do with his desire to stay in Philly.

“It was huge, man,” he said. “Because they always believed in me. Throughout that whole process, people were saying all kinds of stuff, suspensions, all kinds of stuff, and the organization just really backed me up.

“[They said] pretty much, ‘No matter what happens, we’re going to stand by you,’ and it shows.

“This organization means everything to me. That shows loyalty and that’s something a lot of teams don’t have and it separates us, and I feel like that’s why we had the success we had last year. 

“A lot of the small things a lot of other organizations don’t do, this organization does.”

Concert celebrating Eagles' Super Bowl season sounds pretty epic

USA Today Images

Concert celebrating Eagles' Super Bowl season sounds pretty epic

Eagles fans will probably never stop reliving the first Super Bowl title in franchise history.

While watching highlights, wearing championship apparel and occasionally just looking in the mirror and reminding yourself, "We won the Super Bowl" are all good ways of remembering what the Birds accomplished, there's a pretty unique new way that you'll be able to experience it all over again.

On July 24, the Mann Center will be hosting "A Championship Season," a special event to honor the Eagles. 

Going by the Mann Center's description, it should be an incredible night.

The Mann Center, NFL Films, and the Philadelphia Eagles take center stage this summer to celebrate the Eagles’ Championship Season with the world premiere of this “Philly Special” concert event. Hosted by the “Voice of the Eagles,” Merrill Reese, relive NFL Films’ stunning video highlights of the Philadelphia Eagles Championship Season on three giant screens alongside the great Philadelphia Orchestra, performing live the inspiring, uplifting and wonderfully symphonic music of NFL Films. 

Part of the proceeds from "A Championship Season" will benefit the Eagles Autism Challenge and the Mann Center's free art education programs. 

If you want to be part of the epic celebration, get your tickets here

Carson Wentz was great in 2017, but there's one thing he'd like to improve

USA Today Images

Carson Wentz was great in 2017, but there's one thing he'd like to improve

He was among the NFL’s best in virtually every category. Fourth in passer rating. First in touchdown percentage. Eighth in interception percentage. Second in TD-to-INT ratio. He was even third in wins despite missing the last three regular-season games.

So what’s Carson Wentz’s approach going into 2018?

“I think we can improve everywhere,” he said. “Overall, I think we can keep making strides and keep our foot on the gas.”

And that starts with completion percentage.

Wentz completed just 60.2 percent of his passes last year, which ranked 23rd of 30 quarterbacks who threw at least 400 passes. 

Ahead of only Blake Bortles, Andy Dalton, Mitch Trubisky, Cam Newton, Trevor Siemian, Jacoby Brissett and DeShone Kizer.

Not the kind of company he wants to keep.

Wentz was so good in every other area he still fashioned a passer rating over 100. In fact, his 101.9 rating was the highest in NFL history by a quarterback completing 60.2 percent of his passes (minimum 400 attempts).

The league average last year was 62 percent. And for the sake of comparison, Nick Foles completed 64.7 percent of his passes if you combine the regular season and postseason.

Wentz dropped from 62.4 percent as a rookie to 60.2 percent last year.

Among 36 active NFL quarterbacks who’ve thrown at least 1,000 passes, Wentz’s 61.5 completion percentage ranks 21st.

 “I know I’d like to see my completions go higher,” Wentz said last week. “I think I was right around 60 percent and I expect more out of myself in that area.”

After 2016, Wentz identified red zone and third down as two areas he hoped to improve on. 

And he wound up leading the NFL in both red zone efficiency (NFL-best 116.3 passer rating) and third-down efficiency (NFL-best 123.7 rating).

“Third down, red zone, we were really good,” he said. “That’s something we really focused on from Year 1 to Year 2, but we (still) all feel we can definitely improve in those areas.”

Wentz also committed nine fumbles in 13 games, and only Jameis Winston and Russell Wilson had more.

“I think we had too many fumbles,” he said. “Balls on the ground too many times.”

Wentz, now nearly five months out from his knee injury, said he’s used a lot of his extra time at the NovaCare Complex this offseason focusing on what he can improve on in 2018, and one of those things is his upper-body strength.

“With all the extra rehab and not being able to run and do a lot of things early on you’ve really just got to focus on some different things and I got to do a lot of seated throwing and trying to build my arm strength and really take care of my upper body more than I have in the past,” he said.

“It’s been an interesting process not being able to get that true conditioning and that rehab in, but it’s exciting to start easing into the running and conditioning stuff. … 

“I feel good. I definitely feel working with the strength guys, we had some friendly competition stuff with the other (injured) guys in there rehabbing and I definitely feel like I’m making some strides in there.”