Eagles

2020 NFL Draft: Eagles add speedy wide receiver John Hightower in 5th round

2020 NFL Draft: Eagles add speedy wide receiver John Hightower in 5th round

The Eagles added their third wide receiver in three days Saturday when they selected speedy Boise State wideout John Hightower in the fifth round of the draft.

The Eagles drafted Jalen Reagor in the first round on Thursday and earlier Saturday acquired oft-injured speedster Marquise Goodwin in a trade with the 49ers.

It hasn’t gone exactly the way anybody anticipated, but the Eagles have added three potential weapons to a desultory wide receiver corps since the draft began.

The 6-foot-2, 170-pound Hightower averaged 18.5 yards per catch this past season, 8th-best in the BCS.

Hightower caught 31-for-504 with six TDs two years ago and then was 51-for-943 with eight TDs this past season. He also averaged a whopping 13.2 yards on 24 carries with two more TDs in his two seasons at Boise State.

Hightower began his college career at Hinds Community College mainly for track, and he earned JUCO All-America honors as a sophomore when he placed sixth in the 400-meter hurdles at nationals in 53.27.

But his focus turned to football and after spending 2018 as a part-time starter he blossomed last year.

This is the first time the Eagles have drafted two wide receivers within the first five rounds since 2014, when they took Jordan Matthews in the second round and Josh Huff in the third. They also did it in 2000 with Todd Pinkston in the first round and Gari Scott in the fourth.

Eagles GM Howie Roseman has now drafted five wide receivers in the last four drafts — Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson in 2017, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside last year and Reagor and Hightower this year.

The Eagles drafted Hightower with the 164th pick overall, a 5th-rounder they acquired earlier Saturday from the Cowboys in exchange for No. 146 overall in the fourth round and a 5th-round pick in the 2021 draft.

The Cowboys selected center Tyler Biadasz of Wisconsin with the pick they acquired from the Eagles.

Hightower is the first player the Eagles have ever drafted out of Boise State, although Quintin Mikell signed as an undrafted free agent in 2003 and went on to become a Pro Bowl safety.

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NFL reportedly cutting 2020 preseason in half

NFL reportedly cutting 2020 preseason in half

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the NFL is cutting its 2020 preseason in half, according to NBC Sports’ ProFootballTalk

Weeks 1 and 4 of the preseason will be canceled, according to the report. 

That means the Eagles will lose games at Indianapolis and vs. the Jets. They will still be scheduled to play at Miami and vs. New England. According to other reports, the preseason start will be pushed back later in August. 

Here’s a look at the Eagles’ preseason schedule: 

CANCELED: Week 1 — at IND on NBC10
STILL ON: Week 2 — at MIA on NBC10
STILL ON: Week 3 — vs. NE on NBC10
CANCELED: Week 4 — vs. NYJ on NBC10

This report seems to jibe with a report from USA Today that said the NFLPA is considering a proposal to limit rosters from 90 to 80 or even 75 for teams to make it easier to socially distance this summer. Without half of their preseason games, teams will likely find it easier to have smaller rosters. 

The news about the reduced preseason comes after the NFL advised teams last week that training camps are still expected to begin on July 28 with rookies and select players permitted to report earlier. 

It’s important for NFL teams to get a full training camp in, especially after missing the entirety of spring workouts. 

“I do think because we've missed the entire off-season, it's going to take all of the five to six weeks that we have of training camp to be prepared for a regular season,” Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said earlier this offseason. “I think that you have to -- that's part of training camp is conditioning the mind, conditioning the body for the physical aspect of the game. In the spring and summer, it's about the mental side, and then just your physical conditioning from workouts and running and things of that nature.

“So I do think that a full training camp, moving forward, would it prepare you --  because I do think you can get enough contact in, and get enough padded practices in, and you would have to maximize those, but at the same time, you would have to be smart to get your guys ready and prepared for that opening weekend.”

For now, the Eagles are expected to open their 2020 season at Washington on Sept. 13 at 1 p.m. 

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NFL rumors: League considering waiver for fans who want to attend games in 2020

NFL rumors: League considering waiver for fans who want to attend games in 2020

With the first NFL preseason game 43 days away, the league is still scrambling to figure out if fans will be in stadium seats if and when football is played this season amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

If fans do find their ways into Lincoln Financial Field later this year, it's possible they'd first have to sign some sort of waiver to shield the Eagles from liability, according to a report Wednesday from The Athletic

It sounds like we could learn more in the coming days and weeks:

The NFL is considering requiring fans attending games this season to sign liability waivers shielding the teams from COVID-19 lawsuits, sources said.  The waiver proposal is likely to be forwarded to clubs by the middle of next week as part of a broad range of league recommended best practices for re-opening stadiums amid the coronavirus pandemic.

What specific language the waiver would include is currently unclear, but it seems fans would complete the waiver electronically before attending games, per The Athletic.

It's unclear if the league has consulted with public health experts on the decision.

The news comes one day after the Eagles sent an email to season ticket holders that had many wondering if the 2020 season will be a fan-less affair at the Linc.

From NBC Sports Philadelphia's Reuben Frank:

The Eagles previously pushed payments back and also provided season ticket holders with the option of paying in installments or one single payment on July 1.

According to the email, the Eagles will communicate additional information regarding season tickets soon:

'Previously, you had deferred your 2020 season ticket payment to July 1st,' the email read. 'We do not plan to process this payment as scheduled and will communicate additional information regarding the 2020 season following the Fourth of July.'

In early June, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf's office issued guidance for professional sports in the state, allowing teams to practice and play in counties that at least reached the yellow reopening phase, as long as the team's league had a COVID-19 safety plan approved the the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Wolf's office said that teams in counties in the green reopening phase are permitted to practice or play with fewer than 250 people on site.

The Eagles averaged 69,783 fans at the Linc during the 2019 season.

The Eagles are scheduled to open the preseason on Aug. 13 in Indianapolis. The first home preseason game is scheduled for Aug. 27 against the Patriots. The regular-season home opener is Sept. 20 against the Rams.

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