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J.J. Redick once impressed Ryan Howard with his baseball skills

J.J. Redick once impressed Ryan Howard with his baseball skills

Philadelphia 76ers talk is coming.

Members of the Philly media are meeting with Brett Brown today for their yearly before-the-season lunch. Then, next week, Sixers media day will be here.

That means Sixers' news will be coming at you fast like an undead snow bear messing up Thoros of Myr.

We got a nice little primer for that today when the Inquirer's Bob Ford wrote a wonderful read on the friendship between new Sixer J.J. Redick and one of Philly's all-time favorite basketballers in Jameer Nelson.

Nelson was with the Orlando Magic when Redick got drafted as an over-confident shooter out of Duke. He showed him the ropes and the two bonded over work ethic and a desire for honesty.

It's a really good read to get to know both players more closely. And it hints at some of the reasons the Sixers went out and spent big money on Redick this offseason.

“It’s not always easy to talk to peers and tell them what they need to do,” Nelson says. “But he wanted to learn, wanted to get better. It’s a competition and it’s not for everyone. You don’t always find guys like that.”

“Something both of them have in common is honesty,” Van Gundy says. “Neither one is afraid of honesty. They were easy to coach because they liked to be told the truth, and they weren’t afraid to tell you the truth, either to a coach or another teammate. You never had to wonder what’s going on with this guy or anything else.”

Will Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Markelle Fultz be receptive to hearing the truth, perhaps when it's not the easiest to handle? Sounds like J.J. is going to be telling it.

There's a fun nugget about how those Orlando Magic teams used to bond back in the day by Nelson bringing his teammates up to Philly for a week at a time during the offseason to play ball, but also to have fun off the court, like on the paintball field or at a Phillies game.

“My favorite one was a paintball competition,” Redick says. “We drove about an hour outside the city and divided up into teams and we went at it. That was a blast. Another time we went to the Phillies and took batting practice with the team. And the whole week, you’re riding together to workouts or just spending time, and you’re sort of out of your element, so you open up. I’d also mention that I had, by far, the best swing on the team. Ryan Howard told me that I looked like the only person on the entire team that had actually played baseball.”

Basketball is back soon and it'll be fun to watch J.J. play the mentoring role this time around.

>>How Jameer Nelson helped make J.J. Redick an NBA player, and got a friend in return [Philly.com]

From last night- father/son time at the ballpark ⚾️🏟.

A post shared by JJ Redick (@jjredick) on

NFL Referees Association: Pete Morelli criticisms are click bait

NFL Referees Association: Pete Morelli criticisms are click bait

The NFL Referees Association responded to criticisms of Pete Morelli and his officiating crew, and in doing so, suggested Eagles fans and impartial members of the media have no idea what they are talking about.

Morelli has come under fire over the seemingly lopsided officiating during the Eagles' 28-23 victory over the Carolina Panthers in Week 6. The Eagles were penalized 10 times for 126 yards in the contest, while the Panthers drew only one flag for one yard, despite the appearance of committing many of the same infractions.

Since that game, a change.org petition moving to ban Morelli from working Eagles games in the future is approaching its goal of 75,000 signatures. Research also shows Morelli's crew has been calling penalties against the Eagles in disproportionate numbers for awhile now. In the last four games with Morelli, the Eagles were flagged 40 times for 396 yards, compared to just eight penalties for 74 yards against opponents.

Almost everybody seemed to be in agreement that the officiating was at the very least poor in the Eagles-Panthers game, if not biased. Everybody, that is, except NFLRA executive director Scott Green, who released a statement on Thursday.

Via ProFootballTalk:

“Claims like these demonstrate a fundamental lack of knowledge about NFL officiating,” Green said. “NFL officials are graded on every call made in every game. Missing a single one can hurt his or her ranking and may be the difference between working in the postseason or not. These recent attempts to sensationalize statistics and create click-bait headlines lack important context. Without the proper perspective, the information being pushed is completely misguided. The passion of NFL fans and teams are a big part of what makes the game so great. However, it’s no excuse for the irresponsible and baseless claims we’ve seen lately. NFL officials are committed to upholding the integrity of the game and do so every week.”

Lack of knowledge. Completely misguided. Irresponsible and baseless. You would expect the NFLRA to come to the defense of Morelli -- it's literally their job -- but insulting the consumers' intelligence along the way probably isn't the best way to go about it.

Is there anything sinister about Morelli's and his crew's officiating? Maybe not, but it doesn't take somebody who's gone through the NFL's (presumably) rigorous Officiating Development Program to watch two nearly identical plays called differently for two different teams within three hours of each other. Innocent mistakes or not, that's what appeared to happen on multiple occasions throughout the Eagles-Panthers game.

Instead of releasing overly defensive statements, perhaps the NFLRA should show video evidence why the calls against the Eagles were correct, and the eerily similar non-calls that went in the Panthers' favor were not. Because this responding to criticism with more criticism isn't changing any minds.

A surprising Eagle keeps getting drug tested

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Jake Elliott IG

A surprising Eagle keeps getting drug tested

Jake Elliott has been a revelation for the Philadelphia Eagles after Caleb Sturgis went down with an injury early in the season.

But has he been too good...

The rook has made 12 of his 14 attempts for the Birds this season.

If you're looking for a good laugh today, go check out this reddit thread that starts with a photo from Elliott's Instagram story in which he points out he got flagged for his third drug test in two weeks!

The comment section is as good as a Jake Elliott 61 yarder.

"Well, he does bleed green...," abenyishay says..

"Is kickers doping really a thing?" ChaosFinalForm wonders, as do we.

What do you think? Just the way the random drug draw fell the last few weeks, or does the NFL think Jake Elliott is into something?