A little more than a month ago, when aces were still soaking up the weather in Clearwater and the Flyers resided comfortably over first place in the East, Mike Vick pledged his troops would convene sometime this off-season, lockout or no. The Eagles' quarterback has stuck by his word.
Vick and several other Eagles, including Jeremy Maclin and Brent Celek, have descended upon Power Train Sports in Cherry Hill to begin their own version of the off-season program. LeSean McCoy is expected to join the group next week, and DeSean Jackson is on "the next flight out" according to teammates, something of a surprise given the wide receiver's murky contract status.
Via Jeff McLane's report, the players will be working with trainer Steve Saunders in lieu of the sanctioned off-season conditioning program. Saunders already trains several current NFL players, including Celek and Todd Herremans. Vick is also compiling a group of ball-catchers so the offense can hold makeshift practices somewhere in South Jersey.
The news is good all around for fans who may have doubts about the quarterback's character or skill level. It takes a lot of effort and desire just to assemble the individuals for these informal workouts, but Vick stuck to his word. Plus, this is gives everybody a glimpse into exactly how committed Vick really is to elevating his game. He honestly seems to understand it's not enough anymore for him to simply show up on Sundays.
Again, it's great to see Jackson will be participating too. DeSean could easily skip Vick's program, and avoid any additional risk of injury that would damage his ability to get a huge extension after the lockout concludes. His attendance is a good sign for the young Pro Bowler's attitude.
The Eagles are one of the first teams to have a group of players organize since the lockout began. As McLane points out, the offense already has one up over many around the league, as they are set to return nearly all of the same skill players from last season's franchise record-setting performance. Who knows how great of an advantage that could be in a post-lockout NFL.
>> Locked-out Birds gathering for informal workouts [Inquirer]
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As many citizens in Puerto Rico continue to struggle with the devastating impact of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria, Villanova basketball has decided to use its platform to raise money for relief.
The Villanova men’s and women’s teams will host an exhibition doubleheader Nov. 1 at the Jake Nevin Field House, with all ticket sales benefiting the organization “Unidos Por Puerto Rico.” Villanova is also encouraging fans to make additional donations at this website.
The Wildcats women's team will play East Stroudsburg (Division II) at 6 p.m. The men’s team will follow, with a contest against Drexel at 8:30 p.m.
“The impact of Hurricane Irma on our fellow citizens of Puerto Rico has been tragic,” Villanova athletic director Mark Jackson said. “We are grateful that the NCAA is permitting its members to participate in making donations in this unique way as we get ready for the college basketball season. I hope the Nova Nation will join us in supporting this relief effort.”
The men’s team, ranked No. 6 nationally in the preseason USA Today Coaches Poll, was upset by Wisconsin in the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season after a national championship campaign in 2015-16.
The Villanova women finished last season 20-15 overall, making a run to the semifinals of the WNIT before falling to Michigan, 65-11.
Both teams start the regular season Nov. 10, with the women visiting Hartford and the men taking on Columbia at the Wells Fargo Center.