Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Dannell Ellerbe walk into a GameStop

Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Dannell Ellerbe walk into a GameStop

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett and Dannell Ellerbe walk into a GameStop. 

It's not a joke. There's no punchline. That's just what happened Sunday night at the sprawling Mall of America just outside of Minneapolis. The Eagles arrived at their hotel, the Radisson Blu Mall, earlier in the afternoon and were looking for some time to kill. What better way to kill some time than walk around the biggest mall ever. Or buy an Xbox like Corey Clement. 

Rookie linebacker Nate Gerry was with the group too. He's actually from South Dakota and grew up about three hours away from the giant mall, so he had been there before. While his more famous teammates were getting stopped for photos, Gerry said he could probably walk through the entire place undetected. 

There were plenty of Eagles wandering the mall Sunday night; after all, their hotel and the one the Patriots will stay at are attached. The Patriots won't land in Minnesota until Monday afternoon, so the whole place belongs to the Eagles for a little while. 

This year's radio row is in the food court of the mall. Reporters picked up their credentials next to an Anthropologie store. Official NFL merchandise is being sold in a repurposed J. Crew next to the Gap. The entire media circus of the Super Bowl is happening in a mall with a roller coaster and log flume at the center of it. 

All last week the Eagles talked about avoiding the distractions of the Super Bowl and the week leading up to it. Go ahead and add shopping and an indoor coaster to that ever-growing list of things to avoid. Although, there are worse trouble players could get in. 

Meanwhile, near U.S. Bank Stadium, final preparations are being completed. This giant banner of Nick Foles and Brandon Graham was being put up right next to the stadium a little before the time the Eagles landed. 

The big distraction Monday will be media night at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. It's going to be a circus. While the Eagles are used to plenty of reporters and cameras in their faces, it's nothing compared to what they're going to see from 10-11 p.m. EST Monday. It's a crazy event. 

The Eagles' media availability Tuesday will be from 1:40 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. EST. Head coach Doug Pederson and 10 players, including Nick Foles, will be available for interviews. 

On Wednesday, Pederson, his assistant coaches and players will speak to reporters from 11:15-12:30 p.m. EST. On Thursday, they'll go from 11:15 to 12:30 p.m. again. 

After that, all their obligations are fulfilled. Both teams get to focus on the game Friday and Saturday. 

Kickoff at U.S. Bank Stadium is at 6:30 p.m. Sunday. 

Greg Ward still learning wide receiver position after great college career at quarterback

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Greg Ward still learning wide receiver position after great college career at quarterback

Greg Ward threw more touchdown passes in college than Carson Wentz and had a higher career passer rating than Nick Foles. 

These days, his job is catching passes, not throwing them. 

It’s quite a transition from big-time NCAA Division 1 quarterback to NFL wide receiver, but at 5-foot-11, 185 pounds, the former Houston Cougar knows where his future is.

Ward spent all of last year on the Eagles’ practice squad, learning the nuances of a new position and figuring out how to think like a receiver instead of a quarterback. 

He looked surprisingly polished at wide out in training camp, caught nine passes for 63 yards in the preseason and then spent the season focusing on getting better.

“I still haven’t 100 percent gotten the position,” Ward said after a recent rookie camp practice. “I always feel like I can get better, always feel like I can learn something new, feel like there’ll always be something to improve on. 

“Last year was a big year for me. Just learning a new position, learning football period, learning from Alshon (Jeffery), Torrey (Smith) and Nelson (Agholor), it was a very important year for me.

“Just gathering every bit of information I could watching those guys practice and watching them in games and then learning how to apply what you’ve learned to your game.”

Ward never did get a chance to play, but he said he felt himself getting better as the year went along.

“Everybody wants to play,” said Ward, who led Houston to a Peach Bowl win over No. 9 Florida State in Atlanta at the end of his junior year. 

“You’re a competitor, that’s why we all do this. But I was humbled and thankful just to be on a Super Bowl team. Just to be in the NFL period. Some guys aren’t able to play football at all. I’m just grateful to be on a football team. 

“But this is not the end of my story. I am going to get out there and I am going to play.”

Ward was with the Eagles during their postseason run and he was there in Minneapolis for the Super Bowl.

He used every moment, every day, as an opportunity to improve. Even if nobody could see it happening.

“The biggest thing I learned was just being patient, just being humble,” he said. “Our team last year, there was nobody that was selfish. Nobody who thought they were bigger than anybody else. I learned patience and the importance of doing extra. Getting extra work, studying more, watching more film. That’s what it takes to win a championship.”

The Eagles have quite a crowd at wide receiver, with Jeffery, Agholor and Mack Hollins back, Wallace and Markus Wheaton in the fold and guys like Bryce Treggs, Shelton Gibson and Rashard Davis all also in the mix.

But Ward doesn’t concern himself with the numbers.

“The next step for me is to separate myself,” he said. "As a competitor, especially coming from being undrafted, you have to separate yourself. You have to be different. 

“You have to catch whoever’s eye it is, head coach, position coach, catch everybody’s eyes. They have to see value in you. That’s where I am right now. Trying to separate myself.”

How long will it take?

“I’m leaving that up to God,” he said. “I know I’m putting in the hard work and I know one day it will pay off. I know that day will come.”

Jay Ajayi's publicist denies Eagles' RB trashed an L.A. mansion

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Jay Ajayi's publicist denies Eagles' RB trashed an L.A. mansion

Eagles running back Jay Ajayi is strongly denying accusations made in a lawsuit that he trashed a Los Angeles house after the Super Bowl (see story)

The lawsuit, as reported by TMZ earlier this week, accuses Ajayi of throwing three parties at the L.A. mansion he was renting even after the owner told him not to. Ajayi is being charged $25,000 by the owner. 

Shortly after the story broke on Monday, a representative for Ajayi claimed the lawsuit was bogus. 

Now, we have an even stronger detail from Ajayi’s camp. 

Ajayi’s publicist Melanie Wadden told the Miami Herald that Ajayi didn’t throw any parties and caused no damage to the property. 

Additionally, Wadden denied the home owner’s claim that Ajayi pushed him in a menacing manner after confronting him.

“Jay was not involved in any physical altercations,” she said. 

Ajayi’s publicist also told the Herald that Ajayi was a guest and not the renter and the owner wanted the group to pay cash instead of through Airbnb. 

"The entire group voluntarily left the property several days early — no security or police were ever involved or on-site," Wadden said. "They filed a complaint against the owner through Airbnb back in February that included screenshots of the owner asking for cash and trying to communicate outside of their platform [against Airbnb policy]."

Ajayi, who came to the Eagles in the middle of last season in a trade, has one year left on his current contract.