Ken Flajole

How and why Chris Long made ridiculous Super Bowl tattoo bet

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How and why Chris Long made ridiculous Super Bowl tattoo bet

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — Meet Ken Flajole. He's been the Eagles' linebackers coach for the past two seasons. His name is pronounced FLAY-juhl. He's the oldest member of the Eagles' coaching staff. 

And his bald head and face might be tattooed on Chris Long's body pretty soon. 

In an interview with NFL Network during media night on Monday, Long revealed that he had a bet with Flajole. If the Eagles win the Super Bowl, he'd get the 63-year-old's face tattooed somewhere on his body. 

According to Flajole, that's 100 percent accurate. 

Long and Flajole worked together in Philadelphia this season but their relationship goes back several years. While Long was still playing in St. Louis, Flajole was his defensive coordinator from 2009-11. They reunited this year when Long joined the Eagles as a free agent. 

On Wednesday, Flajole said the bet came about from a simple conversation the two had way back in training camp. According to the coach, here's how that conversation went: 

Flajole: "Chris, there wouldn't be anything greater for me than to be able to hoist that Lombardi Trophy with you." 

Long: "Flaj, I'll tell you what, if we win the Super Bowl, I'll put a tattoo of your face on my body."

Flajole: "OK. Be careful about making bets because if this comes to fruition I'm going to hold you to it."

And here we are. 

Flajole has gotten the most out of his linebackers this season, even after the devastating loss of middle linebacker Jordan Hicks. He has Nigel Bradham and Mychal Kendricks playing the best ball of their careers. And he's been able to coach around the revolving door at the middle linebacker position, from Hicks to Joe Walker to Najee Goode to newcomer Dannell Ellerbe. 

Meanwhile, Long has had a resurgent season with the Eagles. After winning a Super Bowl with the Patriots last year, Long wanted to join a defense that he thought would take advantage of his strengths. The 32-year-old has been a big part of the defense's success and this run to the Super Bowl. 

So this possible victory would mean a lot to both men. It means enough to end up in ink. Flajole said Long is a "man of his word" even though he might try to buy his way out of the bet or try to broker a deal. 

Will Long actually get the tattoo? 

"Oh, he'll do it," Flajole said without hesitation. "He'll do it."

Flajole isn't exactly sure where Long's new ink will go if the Birds win the Super Bowl. 

But he has an idea. 

"I'm sure it's going to be someplace that's concealed very easily," Flajole said laughing. "I said, 'Chris, you don't want to be my age, with people looking at something and saying who's that guy?"

Eagles LBs coach Ken Flajole injured in second quarter

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Eagles LBs coach Ken Flajole injured in second quarter

Eagles linebackers coach Ken Flajole needed to leave the sideline on a cart after being taken out by a play near the sideline late in the second quarter. 

The 63-year-old position coach was standing on the sideline when linebacker Nigel Bradham took out Pierre Garcon near the sideline and Flajole was wiped out too. It looked like Flajole's head slammed into the ground. It took a few minutes before he even sat up. 

Players and coaches gathered around the coach as trainers checked him out. Eventually, Flajole was helped to a cart that took him off the field at halftime. On one play, linebacker Najee Goode was almost late getting into the game for a play because he was standing near Flajole. 

Flajole returned to the sidelines for the start of the second half.

Flajole (pronounced FLAY-juhl) joined the Eagles' coaching staff last year. He is the oldest coach on the Eagles' staff. 

You'll likely remember when news of Flajole's hire broke last year, it let folks know the Eagles must have a head coach in place. Later that day, reports surfaced that Doug Pederson was hired.

Eagles LBs coach thinks there's more ceiling for Jordan Hicks

Eagles LBs coach thinks there's more ceiling for Jordan Hicks

Jordan Hicks is a good middle linebacker. 

After his first two seasons in the NFL, the former third-round pick has piled up some eye-popping numbers. 

In his first 24 games in the league (his rookie season was cut short with a pec injury), he has seven interceptions, 14 passes defensed, four fumble recoveries, a forced fumble and two sacks. 

He's just the fifth player in NFL history — and only linebacker — to have that many INTs, fumble recoveries and forced fumbles in the first two years of his career. 

Hicks, who turns 25 later this month, is already really good. The next step is to become great. 

Is there room for more growth? 

"I would hope so," Eagles linebackers coach Ken Flajole said last week. "We're all emotionally tied in with our guys. I think he's done a great job for us. Is there room for improvement? No question. But he works at it. It's important to him. I know it's important for him that he puts the team success above himself. 

"I would suspect that there's more ceiling for him at linebacker. And I expect him to work at those things." 

Hicks actually had a chance to work on some of those things this offseason. As he exited last year, it was clear Hicks possessed ball-hawk traits, but admittedly needed to get better against the run. 

After his first NFL season, Hicks was stuck recovering from his torn pectoral and subsequent surgery. The rehab didn't allow him to strength train as much as he would have liked. 

This year, it's been a different story. He's hit the weight room hard, put on some extra weight, and hasn't been hamstrung by a tedious rehab process. 

"It's been great, man," Hicks said. "Having a full offseason to get in rhythm, having a full offseason to lift and get stronger and not have to take a step back to rehab and do everything over again, it's huge. Huge. To just build and stack and stack on top of each other."

Flajole agrees with Hicks, that the extra time in the weight room will help him against the run, specifically at the point of attack.  

Flajole isn't the only person in the NovaCare Complex who thinks big things are still ahead for Hicks. After the season finale against the Cowboys last season, Malcolm Jenkins said he thought Hicks is "trending to be one of the better linebackers in this league."

While Hicks wants to improve his run defense, it's undeniable that the strength of his game — to this point — is his knack for being around the ball. He always seems to be making a big play, whether it's an interception or a fumble recovery. 

It might seem like chance, but Flajole doesn't discount it as such. 

"He's a very instinctual guy and I think he understands the game," Flajole said. "The thing that can't be discounted for Jordan is that he works at it. He watches a lot of tape and because of those things, he feeds off of tendencies that the offense would give him, either by down and distance or formation. And he uses those to his advantage." 

For the second straight year, Hicks will be in the same defense under Jim Schwartz and will have the same battery mate in Nigel Bradham, who enters the second year of his two-year deal. 

At some point before the 2017 season starts, Hicks will set some personal goals for himself, like he does every year. While he hasn't set them yet, Hicks said they are normally leadership-based or stat-based. 

"It definitely gives you something to reach for and keep you on track," Hicks said. "Just like you set team goals. If you're not setting goals, you're just working towards nothing, just shooting in the air at nothing." 

One thing the goals won't be is accolade-based. Sure, Hicks would like to be named to his first Pro Bowl, but that won't be on the checklist. 

If he gets better than he's been in Year 1 and 2, it'll only be a matter of time before the recognition catches up with his stats. 

"I'm not really worried about the accolades at this point," he said. "It's not really what I'm focused on. I believe that if you're doing what you need to do, day in and day out, you're giving it everything you got, the rest will come. I'm focused on what I can do for this team, what I can do to make this team the best it can be. And let the rest fall in place."