PHOENIX — As has become customary, Doug Pederson sat down in front of a round table overflowing with reporters and jokingly checked his watch. It’s an hour-long media session and he wants to time it himself.
Pederson is hobbled this week at the owners meetings taking place at the luxurious Arizona Biltmore. He had surgery on his left ankle, where a bone spur was rubbing his Achilles tendon. The operation shaved down the bone and has Pederson in a boot for 10 weeks. Just a few more weeks with the Roll-A-Bout.
The two biggest pieces of news to come out of the hour-long breakfast session:
1. Pederson is optimistic about Wentz’s availability for OTAs (see story).
2. The Eagles will host the Ravens for joint practices in the third week of training camp (see story).
But there were plenty of other nuggets in the lengthy session. Here are a few more takeaways.
Corners in the mix
The Eagles brought back Ronald Darby on a one-year contract, so they now have a group of six talented and young cornerbacks: Darby, Jalen Mills, Rasul Douglas, Avonte Maddox, Sidney Jones and Cre’Von LeBlanc.
Doug seemed excited to get Darby back. He said Darby was having a “really good season” before his injury in 2018.
After that, the lineup seems far from figured out. Pederson mentioned Avonte Maddox can play in a lot of different spots. One of them is as the nickel cornerback, so that’s a possibility for 2019. But Pederson also mentioned LeBlanc’s name a few times, so he’s still in the mix at that position.
With Mills and Darby coming off injuries, we might not get a good sense of the Eagles’ starters at corner for a while. There will likely be some competition in training camp.
DeSean TD story
When DeSean Jackson signed his contract with the Eagles after being traded, he shared a story about Pederson from Week 2 in Tampa when the Eagles played DeSean and the Bucs. Pederson filled in the blanks of the story on Tuesday morning.
Earlier in the game, first quarter, after he had just scored there was another play on our sideline. He looks at me and says something like ‘You never should have let me go, you never should have let me go!’ And I was like ‘I wasn’t even there, I wasn’t even there!’ And then that play happened, I think Corey Clement got dinged down by the goal line, and I walked out and DeSean was there and I was asked him like ‘Why you mad at me, why you mad at me?’…So we had a little exchange that game, it was fun.
Pederson and Jackson have a relationship that dates back to 2009. That will be important.
While they are in different situations from a contract perspective, Darren Sproles and Chris Long are both mulling over the possibility of retiring. Sproles, 35, is a free agent, while Long, 34, is still under contract.
Pederson said he would like to have Sproles back. Likewise with Long, who hasn’t given the Eagles any indication yet.
Pederson didn’t seem like he’s in a rush to get an answer from either player. He said they are veterans who will take care of themselves even if they are away from the team.
Wiz and Bennett are gone
The Eagles traded Michael Bennett and didn’t pick up the option on Stefen Wisniewski’s contract, so both veterans are now off the team.
Pederson said similar things about both — they’ll get opportunities to start elsewhere and play more than they would have with the Eagles. It was still somewhat questionable to let both of them go, but Bennett will be a starter in New England and there’s a chance Wisniewski will find a starting job elsewhere. He’s still a free agent. This will give the Eagles a chance to get their younger players more playing time, Pederson said.
When he was asked about Bryce Harper, Pederson revealed he made a recruitment video to help lure Harper to Philly. What did he say in the video?
“I can’t remember. I did say this. He is my father-in-law’s favorite player, so I said, ‘If you come to Philly, maybe I’ll see my father-in-law more than once a year.’”
For some, that wouldn’t be a good thing, but Pederson clarified that he likes his father-in-law.
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