As Nigel Bradham attempted to make his way through security Sunday at Miami International Airport, TSA agents discovered a loaded gun in a seldom-used zippered compartment of his backpack.
Although he had a permit for the gun and police said there was no criminal intent, Bradham, who was already out on bond for an alleged assault in July, was arrested.
On Wednesday at his locker after practice, Bradham called the most recent incident — going through airport security with a loaded gun — an “unintended mistake.”
How does that happen?
“How does that happen?” Bradham said, repeating the question. “I forgot — it’s as simple as that.”
Bradham, 27, said the gun was loaded but not cocked. One of the reasons he carries a gun is for protection. He also said gun laws are more lenient in Florida and it’s far more common for folks to carry guns.
“It’s something that could have happened to anybody,” Bradham said.
But it didn’t happen to anybody. It happened to Bradham, who has now been arrested twice in just over two months. The first arrest has resulted in a second-degree felony charge that could carry a penalty of up to 15 years in prison if convicted after a trial that starts in January (see story).
Bradham hasn’t yet heard from the league about a fine or suspension but knows it’s a possibility. He also thinks the NFL might look at both incidents when making a decision. Head coach Doug Pederson said he won’t levy any possible discipline until the “whole legal process pans out.”
Meanwhile, Bradham has been practicing this week and is expected to play Sunday in Detroit.
Before the bye week, Pederson stressed the importance of good decision-making. Then Bradham got arrested for bringing a loaded gun to the airport.
“Guys have got to make better decisions when they are away from the building,” Pederson said on Wednesday (see story). “It’s unfortunate.”
Is Bradham worried these incidents could put him in jeopardy of losing his job?
“I mean, fortunately I’m here now and that’s a blessing and I can’t take that for granted,” he said.
Through three games, Bradham has played at a very high level. He signed a two-year, $7 million deal this offseason with the Eagles and has been well worth it, at least on the field. He’s played 96 percent of defensive snaps, has 10 tackles, one interception and a pass defended as the team's starting SAM linebacker.
But no one’s talking about his stellar play this week. This week, people are talking about his actions away from the football field. He said he’s disappointed to be one of the negatives.
“Yeah, you never want to be a distraction,” Bradham said in front of a crowd of reporters. “And obviously, that’s what happens. Two incidents. Right now we have a lot of positive things to talk about, we’re 3-0, we’re coming off the bye week and everything like that.”
A little over two months ago, after his first arrest this year, Bradham emphasized how important first impressions were and expressed disappointment that his first impression in Philadelphia wasn’t a good one.
When asked how he can win back people who now think badly of him, Bradham said, “Just keep fighting and try to make everything right.”
On Wednesday, Bradham claimed he wants to be a role model. After two arrests in a little over two months, he obviously has some work to do in that department.
“Always. Every day,” he said. “I also have a 2-year-old son. I have to be a role model for him, my family, this organization, kids in Philadelphia obviously. And just everybody. I just have to be a lot more responsible, take a lot more responsibility in what I’m doing.”