Eagles

NFL Notes: Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict has suspension reduced to 3 games

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NFL Notes: Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict has suspension reduced to 3 games

CINCINNATI -- Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict had his NFL suspension reduced from five to three games for his egregious hit on a Chiefs running back during a preseason game.

During the second preseason game, Burfict leveled running back Anthony Sherman on a pass play when he wasn't the intended target.

Burfict appealed and had two games shaved off the punishment. He'll miss home games against the Ravens and Texans and a road game with the Packers. He'll be eligible to return for a game in Cleveland on Oct. 1.

It's the second straight season he's suspended for the first three games. He was suspended last season for his hit to Antonio Brown's head during a 2015 playoff loss to the Steelers.

Browns: Two-time Pro Bowl CB Haden released
CLEVELAND -- Too expensive and too-often injured, Joe Haden is no longer part of Cleveland's long-term plans.

The two-time Pro Bowl cornerback, who had gone from being one of the city's most popular players to polarizing, was released Wednesday after the team couldn't trade him or persuade him to take a pay cut.

"We want to thank Joe for all he has done for this organization both on and off the field," said Sashi Brown, executive vice president of football operations. "He has been a great teammate and a true asset to the Cleveland community. These are very difficult decisions, we have the utmost respect for Joe and in my eyes, he will always be a Cleveland Brown."

A first-round pick in 2010, Haden has been slowed by injuries the past two seasons and the Browns felt he was no longer one of their top defensive backs.

Cleveland, which is in need of a wide receiver, had shopped Haden but couldn't find a partner, mostly because he'll make $11.1 million this season and has two more seasons left on a five-year, $67.5 million extension -- $45 million guaranteed -- he signed in 2014 (see full story).

Chiefs: Former 1st-round OL Erving acquired from Browns
CLEVELAND -- The Browns have traded offensive lineman Cam Erving, a former first-round pick, to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Cleveland is getting a fifth-round pick for Erving, the No. 19 overall selection in 2015 who was a disappointment for the Browns. They tried him at center, guard and tackle, but the 6-foot-5, 313-pounder struggled at each spot.

Erving has been sidelined with a calf injury in recent weeks and limited in practice.

He started 13 games last season, 12 at center and one at right tackle. Cleveland's offensive line was ravaged by injuries last year, but the Browns still managed to finish second in the NFL by averaging 4.9 yards per attempt.

Erving made 42 consecutive starts at Florida State, where he started as a defensive lineman before moving to offensive tackle. Later, he was switched to center and played well for the Seminoles (see full story).

Texans: Team ready to head home after game cancelled
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texans were planning to head home to flood-ravaged Houston after their final preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys was canceled Wednesday.

The game had been moved from Houston to the home of the Cowboys because of widespread flooding in the Houston area in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. The decision to cancel Thursday night's game altogether was announced when the Texans said local authorities had found a safe route for the team to drive the 250 miles home.

"At this time, the priority of our organization is getting our players, coaches and staff back home to be reunited with their families, many of whom have been evacuated from their homes and are currently sheltered," the Texans said in a statement. "The team feels it is imperative to get back home to help the Houston community recover from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey."

After the Texans played their preseason game in New Orleans last weekend, they went to North Texas instead of home after the storm. The Texans worked out Monday and Tuesday at the Cowboys' practice facility (see full story).

Vikings: Bridgewater still working his way back
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Exactly one year ago, Teddy Bridgewater dropped back to pass during a routine drill and tumbled to the ground with a devastating injury to his left knee.

The unflappable Bridgewater has made a remarkable recovery, but he still has a long way to go before he can return to action with the Minnesota Vikings.

"He's got to be able to protect himself on the field and be able to do the movements that are required by his position," coach Mike Zimmer said. "When he's there, he'll practice."

Bridgewater has taken questions from reporters only once since the fateful afternoon of Aug. 30, 2016, when teammates were jolted by the sight of their popular quarterback writhing in pain and head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman had to lead a hasty effort to save his leg.

Each day during training camp this summer, with the rest of the Vikings working on strategy and technique, Bridgewater has been off to the side simply working on rebuilding strength in and around the knee that suffered a dislocation and multiple ligament tears (see full story).

Eagles LB Joe Walker named Ed Block Courage Award winner

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Eagles LB Joe Walker named Ed Block Courage Award winner

Eagles linebacker Joe Walker, who missed all of last year with a serious knee injury, has been voted by his teammates this year's Eagles recipient of the prestigious 2017 Ed Block Courage Award. 

Walker joins such hallowed names in Eagles history as Andre Waters, Kevin Turner, Correll Buckhalter, Chad Lewis and Jason Avant in receiving the award, given annually to a player on each team who shows a commitment to the principles of sportsmanship and courage on and off the field.   

Walker, a seventh-round pick out of Oregon in 2016, suffered a knee injury the second week of training camp last summer but bounced back to make the 53-man roster this year and has played in all six games for the 5-1 Eagles.

With Jordan Hicks hurt in the second half Thursday night in Charlotte, Walker played a career-high 13 snaps on defense against the Panthers. He's played 53 special teams snaps this year.

Ed Block was the Colts’ trainer from 1954 through 1977 after earning a Purple Heart in the Army under General Patton in the tank corps in World War II.

The 32 Ed Block Courage Award winners will be honored at the annual Ed Block Courage banquet in Baltimore this spring.

For more information on the program, go to www.EdBlock.org.

Here is a list of all the Eagles’ Ed Block Courage Award winners since the inception of the program in 1984: 
 
2017     Joe Walker
2016     Nolan Carroll
2015     Fletcher Cox
2014     Jeremy Maclin
2013     Jason Kelce
2012     Colt Anderson
2011     Mike Patterson
2010     Jason Avant
2009     Michael Vick
2008     Jon Dorenbos
2007     Montae Reagor
2006     Jerome McDougle
2005     Chad Lewis
2004     Derrick Burgess
2003     Correll Buckhalter
2002     Shawn Barber
2001     Duce Staley & Tommy Brasher
2000     Cecil Martin
1999     Mike Mamula
1998     Bobby Taylor
1997     Rhett Hall
1996     Kevin Turner
1995     Charlie Garner
1994     Fred Barnett
1993     Andre Waters
1992     Jerome Brown
1991     David Alexander
1990     Ron Solt
1989     Mike Quick
1988     Wes Hopkins
1987     Gerry Feehery
1986     Jody Schultz
1985     Ron Jaworski
1984     John Spagnola

Despite raising bar in 2017, Philadelphia won't host 2018 NFL draft

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Despite raising bar in 2017, Philadelphia won't host 2018 NFL draft

The City of Philadelphia did an incredible job hosting the 2017 draft.

And it still wasn't enough to keep the event. 

The NFL announced the 2018 draft will be held in the Dallas Cowboys' home, AT&T Stadium. Dallas — or technically Arlington, Texas — will be the third city to host the draft in three years, following Chicago and Philly. 

It has been rumored for months that Jerry Jones had his city as the favorite to host the next draft. Turns out those rumors were right. 

Good luck topping what Philly did in 2017 though. 

“Philadelphia raised the bar by taking the Draft to another level, and this new opportunity in Dallas will enable us to continue the event’s evolution and grow it even further,” commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “We are grateful to the Dallas Cowboys, the cities of Arlington, Dallas, and Frisco, and the Dallas Sports Commission for their leadership in turning this vision into reality.” 

The 2018 draft will begin on April 26. The NFL's release said the draft site will include the field, stands and outdoor plazas. 

According to the NFL, at the 2017 draft, a record 250,000 fans attended the three-day event along the Ben Franklin Parkway. The estimated economic impact for the city was $94.9 million. 

“The Draft was a family-friendly event for Philadelphians and visitors across the country,” Mayor Jim Kenney said. “I thank all of our public and private partners, especially the City employees and first responders, who made this event a success and allowed Philly to shine in the national spotlight once again.”

Aside from the numbers, the draft in Philly was aesthetically pleasing. The television shots from the Parkway were gorgeous and the vibe around the entire event was special. 

Things went so well, NFL senior vice president of events Peter O'Reilly said the draft in Philly was a "resounding success." 

It won't be coming back in 2018, but the next time it does, the city will be ready.