Colin Kaepernick

For Torrey Smith, North Dakota trip revealed critical quality about Carson Wentz

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For Torrey Smith, North Dakota trip revealed critical quality about Carson Wentz

Torrey Smith spent four years with Joe Flacco, who won a Super Bowl in 2012. And he spent two years with Colin Kaepernick, who lost a Super Bowl in 2012.

And he sees those Super Bowl qualities he saw in Flacco and Kaepernick in Carson Wentz.

"I think Carson has that make-up," Smith said. "That's why they picked him here."

Smith was one of the Eagles' receivers that spent some time this offseason with Wentz in Fargo, North Dakota, where Wentz starred at North Dakota State.

And he said after visiting the North Dakota State football complex and spending some time around the Bison program, he understands how Wentz got to be the way he is.

"I'd say one of the biggest things I learned about him just by going to North Dakota is you see how and why he's that way," Smith said. "Obviously, he's like that as an individual, but the way they built their program is the same way.

"There's nothing celebrated about all the championships they won. You see it in their trophy case, but you go in that weight room, there's nothing. It's work time. It's all about getting to the next one. Their success, they're worried about the future, and I feel like he's kind of the same way."

The North Dakota State football program has won 13 national championships in either NCAA Division II or Division I Football Championship Subdivision, including five in a row from 2011-15. Wentz was the starting quarterback on the 2014 and 2015 championship teams.

"I remember asking him about that one time: 'You ever talk about the records or anything?'" Smith said. "And he said, 'No, we kind of just go about our work.'"

Wentz is off to a phenomenal start this year for the 5-1 Eagles. He has thrown 13 touchdown passes and just three interceptions and has had a passer rating of at least 90 in each game during the Eagles' four-game winning streak.

Smith was asked after practice Tuesday whether Wentz fits in with those other Super Bowl quarterbacks, and he didn't hesitate to say yes.

"There's nothing that's too big for him," Smith said. "People kind of look at him (differently) because he's young, but his mentality is not a young guy at all."

Colin Kaepernick files grievance against NFL, alleging collusion

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Colin Kaepernick files grievance against NFL, alleging collusion

NEW YORK -- Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick filed a grievance against the NFL on Sunday, alleging that he remains unsigned as a result of collusion by owners following his protests during the national anthem.

Kaepernick started a national conversation about political activism by athletes last season when he decided to sit, and then kneel, during the anthem to bring attention to mistreatment of African-Americans by police. Other players have continued the protests this season, prompting an angry response from President Donald Trump, who said players should be fired for not standing during the anthem.

Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the 49ers at the end of last season and remains a free agent despite a rash of injuries and poor play at the quarterback position.

Mark Geragos, one of Kaepernick's attorneys, said in a statement posted on Twitter on Sunday that he filed the grievance "only after pursuing every possible avenue with all NFL teams and their executives."

"If the NFL (as well as all professional sports leagues) is to remain a meritocracy, then principled and peaceful political protest -- which the owners themselves made great theater imitating weeks ago -- should not be punished," Geragos said in the statement, "and athletes should not be denied employment based on partisan political provocation by the executive branch of our government. Such a precedent threatens all patriotic Americans and harkens back to our darkest days as a nation."

San Francisco safety Eric Reid, Kaepernick's former teammate, has been kneeling during the anthem before games, including Sunday's 26-24 loss at the Washington Redskins.

"I'll have to follow up with him," Reid said after the game. "It sure does seem like he's being blackballed. I think all the stats prove that he's an NFL-worthy quarterback. So that's his choice and I support his decision. We'll just have to see what comes of it."

The NFL players' union said it would support the grievance, which was filed through the arbitration system that's part of the league's collective bargaining agreement.

"Colin Kaepernick's goal has always been, and remains, to simply be treated fairly by the league he performed at the highest level for and to return to the football playing field," Geragos said.

Jake Elliott's photo after unforgettable finish a major breath of fresh air

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Jake Elliott's photo after unforgettable finish a major breath of fresh air

"A picture is worth a thousand words."

The saying is attributed to Frederick R. Barnard, but there is some debate who coined the phrase. We’ll let historians debate the origin. Fast-forward some 90-odd years later to a hot Sunday afternoon in South Philadelphia and the visual of Jake Elliott triumphantly being carried off the field on the shoulders of Mychal Kendricks and Kamu Grugier-Hill.

It was a fitting close to a crazy game. Elliott had just buried the longest field goal in franchise history. The sixth-longest ever in the NFL. Sixty-one yards of pure bliss for Eagles fans. All courtesy of a player who was not even on the team two weeks ago. A guy most had never heard of prior to that, including his now teammates, being given the ultimate escort. A kicker nonetheless. The still photo now serves a screen saver or backdrop for countless Eagles fans. A reminder of yet another wild finish between these two old rivals. But the image also represents something much deeper.

Sunday was dominated by images of the sidelines during the national anthem, as players responded to the President Trump's comments. The Eagles, along with their owner, Jeffrey Lurie, stood arms locked along with Philadelphia police during the national anthem. Others around the league sat or kneeled. Some teams never came out of the locker room. Some went the traditional route of standing with their hand over their heart to honor our flag. But unlike Colin Kaepernick’s protests last year or Malcolm Jenkins' clenched fist, this was a much broader protest being made by NFL players.

That this a complex, polarizing issue, no one will argue. The overriding message or theme from the players who took part in the demonstrations was it was done in response to the president’s cry Friday that NFL owners who see players “disrespecting the flag” should say “get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he’s fired.” The protests were also done to raise awareness of the racial inequalities in our country. There are those who find any action other than standing at attention for the anthem to be disrespectful to our country regardless of the reasoning behind it.

Sports has long been the cocoon that allows fans to escape "real world" problems. Attend or turn on a game and you could get a two-three hour respite from work or politics or family issues. Those days are gone. The two worlds have collided, and, like it or not, there is no untangling the two forces.

But there was something about the shot of Elliott, a white man being carried off the field by two African-American men. It was unbridled joy by three human beings from differing backgrounds. But the only color you see is green. No division, race, class or politics. And that's what's still beautiful about sports. Pollyanna perhaps. Individuals of all races and ethnicities and backgrounds working together for a greater good.

Kind of the way it’s supposed to be in that "real world." Picture that.