By Kimberley A. Martin
Pro Football Writers of America
MINNEAPOLIS — The Philadelphia Eagles put the finishing touches on their week of preparation with an afternoon walkthrough Saturday at U.S. Bank Stadium, the venue for Super Bowl LII.
After posing for a team picture, players went to work fine-tuning the gameplan for the New England Patriots. After quick-tempo practices the past three days at the University of Minnesota, the Eagles spent about a half hour going through their light-paced pre-game walkthrough.
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Coach Doug Pederson said “probably three” players in all dealt with varying symptoms of an illness this week, including defensive tackle Tim Jernigan (who missed the first two practices of the week), cornerback Ronald Darby and wide receiver Nelson Agholor.
By Saturday, however, all three players were feeling fine, Pederson said. He also noted that it’s routine for players to be given I.V. fluids.
As planned, Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre addressed the Eagles at their team hotel before the walkthrough. Pederson, Favre’s former backup in Green Bay, chose to keep the details of the meeting and Favre’s message private, but indicated players were listening with rapt attention.
While Saturday’s session lacked the intensity of a normal weekday practice, it gave the Eagles a chance to get the “lay of the land,” familiarize themselves with the locker rooms and the stadium and “take it all in. Soak it in,” Pederson said.
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Now, they’re only 24 hours away from the biggest game of the season. Finally, the moment it’s starting to feel real for the players.
“It puts it into perspective now,” Pederson said of being inside U.S. Bank Stadium for the first time this week. “I think they can see it, when you’re on this field and you see everything around the stadium, you can feel it. It puts it all right there for us.”