Eagles

NFL Notes: Bills host free-agent wide receiver Jeremy Maclin

NFL Notes: Bills host free-agent wide receiver Jeremy Maclin

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- With prompting from running back LeSean McCoy, free-agent receiver Jeremy Maclin is making the Buffalo Bills the first stop in his bid to land a new job.

The Bills announced they were hosting Maclin for a visit on Tuesday, four days after the seven-year veteran was released by the Kansas City Chiefs for salary-cap reasons. Maclin has twice topped 1,000 yards receiving, but is coming off a season in which he was slowed by injuries and had career lows with 44 catches, 536 yards receiving and two touchdowns.

McCoy revealed during his charitable softball tournament last weekend that he began lobbying for the Bills to sign Maclin. McCoy said it wouldn't be a surprise if the receiver signed with Buffalo.

The two spent five seasons playing together in Philadelphia, and McCoy was a member of Maclin's wedding party last month.

Maclin is also familiar with several members of Buffalo's coaching staff, including first-time head coach Sean McDermott, who was the Eagles defensive coordinator in 2009-10.

Buffalo lacks experienced depth at receiver behind starter Sammy Watkins.

Jets: Team planning to part with WR Decker
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The New York Jets are planning to trade or cut wide receiver Eric Decker, the latest move in what has been an offseason purge of veterans with big contracts.

General manager Mike Maccagnan says Tuesday night that if the Jets can't deal Decker, they will move forward without him.

Decker's departure will save the Jets $7.25 million on the salary cap. The news came a few hours after New York cut linebacker David Harris after 10 seasons.

Decker, 30, had 163 catches for 2,183 yards and 19 touchdowns in three seasons with the Jets, although he was limited to just nine receptions for 194 yards and two TDs in three games last year because of a shoulder injury. He had his torn rotator cuff repaired last November -- just over a month after having surgery on his hip, which had also been ailing him.

Decker appeared to be recovering nicely this offseason while participating in organized team activities the past few weeks, although he sported a red no-contact jersey during team drills.

Patriots: Gronkowski ready for new season
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- When healthy, New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski can be one of the most devastating weapons in the NFL.

The 6-foot-6, 265-pound tight end is one of quarterback Tom Brady's favorite targets. Seemingly able to run through opposing defenses at will, Gronkowski is the first tight end with three straight seasons of 10 or more touchdowns (2010-12), and with three seasons of 1,000 or more yards receiving and 10 or more touchdowns. A three-time All-Pro, he led the league with 17 touchdown receptions in 2011, his second pro season.

The problem for Gronkowski and the Patriots has been his ability to stay on the field. He appeared in eight games last season before undergoing December back surgery -- the third in his career -- missing the Patriots' stunning comeback win in the Super Bowl. The last time he appeared in all 16 regular-season games was 2011. Since his rookie year, he has appeared in 88 of 112 regular-season games.

Gronkowski is confident he's fully ready for the 2017 season.

"Definitely no doubts," he said Tuesday after the first of the Patriots' three-day mandatory minicamp at Gillette Stadium. "All the hard work you put in is what you're going to get out of it. So, I love to put in the work, love the challenge sometimes. So ... now I'm good to go.

"It's always important whenever I get a little setback like that that happened, just get back to where I need to be and I feel like I am, doing everything out here, and competing. It's fun" (see full story).

Raiders: Lynch decided on comeback after team announced move
ALAMEDA, Calif. -- For Marshawn Lynch, the decision to come out of retirement and resume his NFL career was made as soon as the league announced his hometown Raiders were leaving for Las Vegas.

Lynch wanted to give Oakland fans one last chance to cheer an Oakland native playing for an Oakland team.

"Maybe them staying probably wouldn't have been so big for me to want to come and play," he said Tuesday in his first news conference since joining the Raiders in April. "But knowing that they were leaving and a lot of the kids here probably won't have an opportunity to see most of their idols growing up being a hometown no more. With me being from here, continuing to be here, it gives them an opportunity to get to see somebody that's actually from where they're from and for the team that they probably idolize."

The NFL approved the Raiders' proposed move to Las Vegas starting in the 2020 season on March 27. The following week, Lynch visited the Raiders to talk about the possibility of coming out of retirement.

That happened three weeks later when Seattle agreed to trade Lynch's rights to Oakland in a deal that included a swap of late-round draft picks in 2018. Lynch agreed to a restructured $9 million, two-year deal that includes incentives that could increase the value even more.

There were billboards welcoming Lynch back home and palpable excitement for Oakland fans.

"It was heartfelt," Lynch said. "At the end of the day, I still walk outside. Besides the billboards and all of that, I really just get out with the people. The billboards are for the commercial people. When you get outside and you walk in the cracks you get to find out what's real" (see full story).

Packers: Fans give stranded House ride to Green Bay
GREEN BAY, Wisconsin -- Packers cornerback Davon House got a lift to Green Bay from a couple of fans.

House was stranded Monday night at the Minneapolis airport while trying to get to Tuesday's organized team activities session. House tweeted that he needed a ride, and two brothers obliged.

Mike Johnson of Hudson, Wisconsin, picked up House for the four-hour ride. His brother Chad Johnson, who lives in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, rushed off to meet the other two.

The Green Bay Press-Gazette reports the brothers took House to Green Bay's airport to get his car. House offered to pay for the ride, but the brothers refused.

House insisted they follow him to Lambeau Field, where the brothers got to go into the locker room.

Eagles' rookie schools veteran in intense practice

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Eagles' rookie schools veteran in intense practice

Rasul Douglas made a huge play during the special teams portion of Wednesday's practice. Going 1-on-1 against veteran special teamer Najee Goode, the Eagles' rookie plowed through him and sent Goode to the turf inside the practice bubble. 

Goode bounced up and locked down the next rep, but for a few seconds, there was pure exuberance on the practice field. A bunch of Douglas' teammates ran toward him and celebrated, while coaches gave him kudos. 

A couple hours later, Douglas didn't even remember it. 

"What play?" the rookie asked. 

After making sure he was serious, out came an iPhone to show Douglas this video: 

"Oh, I don't even remember that," he said. 

While Douglas might have been locked in and focused enough to forget about the most exciting play during the open portion of Wednesday's practice, it was the kind of play that got the whole team going. 

Without remembering the specific instance, Douglas rightly guessed that it was his defensive back teammates, who ran over to congratulate him and celebrate. 

"We get so happy when one of us makes a play because we work hard and we know our goals in our room," Douglas said. "And we know our energy transforms and just passes along to other people. You can get somebody energized and they get somebody else energized." 

Head coach Doug Pederson elected to have his team in pads Wednesday in an effort to keep the team's intensity and physicality high as the team gets ready for the NFC Championship Game. 

That play helped. 

"I think Coach Pederson talks about it all the time; match his intensity," linebacker Nate Gerry said. "So when you see something like that, I guess that's matching the intensity. It just kind of sets the tone for practice."

During the Eagles' first-round bye, the team's players council went to Pederson and asked for an extra day in pads. Pederson planned on one leading into the divisional round game against the Falcons, but his veteran leaders didn't want to go an extra week without that intensity, so the Eagles strapped on their pads. 

They did it again last week and they did it again Wednesday. 

All season the Eagles have believed they're going to play the way they practice, so it shouldn't be much of a shocker. Pederson and the Eagles — despite all the hoopla around the championship — tried to treat Wednesday like any other Wednesday. In part, that meant getting the pads on and going through a tough practice. 

"We ain't going to play on Sunday without pads, so you just have keep in tune with what you do," Douglas said. "I think pads are good." 

Zach Ertz makes largest jump in NFL jersey sales

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Zach Ertz makes largest jump in NFL jersey sales

Eagles tight end Zach Ertz has moved into the top 10 in NFL jersey sales this week, according to national sales figures from Dick’s Sporting Goods.

This week’s Dick’s Jersey Report shows Ertz making the biggest jump in the top 10, moving up 22 spots from No. 29 last week to No. 7 this week.

“There must have been a lot of women’s soccer fans buying jerseys this week,” Ertz said jokingly, referring to his wife Julie, a member of the U.S. Olympic soccer team.

Could be. It’s not like Ertz had a huge game Saturday. He caught three passes for 32 yards in the Eagles’ 15-10 win over the Falcons in the conference semifinal playoff round at the Linc. But he did make his first Pro Bowl this year and finished the season with 74 catches for 824 yards and eight touchdowns.

Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who caught the miracle last-second pass from Case Keenum to send the Vikings into the NFC Championship Game in Philadelphia on Sunday, also made a huge jump, moving from No. 23 to No. 4.

Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz remains in the No. 2 position in jersey sales, despite not playing since he tore his ACL Dec. 10 in Los Angeles. Only Tom Brady’s jersey sold better over the past week.

The rest of the top 10 is Rob Gronkowski third, Antonio Brown fifth, Leonard Fournette sixth, T.J. Watt eighth, Julio Jones ninth and Le’Veon Bell 10th.

Wentz remains the top-selling jersey this year, according to Dick’s after finishing last year at No. 3. Tom Brady, the top-selling jersey last year, is No. 2, followed by Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and Gronkowski.

There are no Eagles other than Wentz and Ertz in the top 50.