Eagles

Cameron Johnston settling into role as Eagles punter

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Cameron Johnston settling into role as Eagles punter

As Australian rugby player Jordan Mailata drew a huge crowd around him at Eagles rookie camp last week, there’s a different Australian on the roster who actually has a chance to play this year. 

Not long after Mailata’s giant circle of reporters dissipated, just a few met with punter Cameron Johnston at his locker. The Australian and former Ohio State punter appears to be the guy after Donnie Jones left the team. 

Is he ready for that? 

“Yeah, that’s the ultimate goal,” Johnston said. “This time of the year, you’re just trying to work every single day to be ready for that opportunity.”

Johnston, 26, was with the Eagles last offseason but released at final cuts, making way for Jones to keep his spot for the fifth year in a row. After getting released, Johnston went back to Columbus, Ohio, and worked on the things he learned from his time with the Birds and worked on the things special teams coordinator Dave Fipp stressed. He's the only punter on the Eagles' 90-man roster. 

It won’t be easy to follow Jones as the Eagles’ punter. After all, Jones is probably the best punter in franchise history and during his five-year stint in Philadelphia was one of the best in the league.  

“He was a great punter,” Johnston said. “It was big to be able to learn from him, the punting and the holding and just the tips that he had. He had that long of a career and being that successful, you try to learn as much as you can.”

The holding aspect of Johnston’s job shouldn’t be overlooked either. He spent three years holding for the Buckeyes, but the Eagles have a new kicker from last offseason. Jake Elliott came in after Caleb Sturgis’ injury and won the job. All three specialist positions are held by new owners. 

The goal for Johnston is consistency. He knows the best specialists in the NFL are — more than anything else — consistent. In his eyes, that’s the key to sticking in the NFL. 

Johnston definitely has some talent. During his senior season at Ohio State, he had a 46.7-yard average, good for first in the Big Ten and fifth in the nation. He also set Buckeye records for punts inside the 20 in his career (109) and in a season (31 in 2015). His career average of 44.9 yards per punt is second in Ohio State history.

It was sometime during those four years at Ohio State that he realized the NFL was a real possibility. 

“When I first moved to an American college, it was just trying to play for Ohio State and do the best you can there and try to win some games,” he said. “And during your time there, you kind of see this as an opportunity and the ultimate goal at the end of it.” 

Johnston is from Geelong, Australia, but his tape reached Ohio State special teams coach Kerry Coombs in the summer of 2013. Johnston, an Australian Rules Football player, had trained at Prokick Australia, based in Melbourne. 

When asked about fellow Aussie Mailata, Johnston said he was excited to see the big guy get drafted and is happy for his opportunity. 

For now, though, it seems like Johnston’s own opportunity is a little closer. 

Back with Eagles, Vinny Curry had other offers, but ‘home is home’

Back with Eagles, Vinny Curry had other offers, but ‘home is home’

It’s safe to say Vinny Curry is pretty happy to be back in Philadelphia. 

Right? 

“Hell yeah,” said a giddy Curry on a conference call with Philly reporters Thursday afternoon. “Super excited!” 

After one year in Tampa Bay, the 30-year-old Curry on Thursday signed a one-year contract to return to the Eagles. According to a league source, his one-year deal is worth $2.25 million and he can earn another $1.25 million in incentives. It’s quite a different contract than the last one he signed with the Eagles and the three-year, $23 million deal he signed to join the Bucs last offseason. 

But this wasn’t all about money for Curry. 

He wanted to come back. You could feel his excitement on the other end of Thursday’s conference call. 

In fact, Curry was reportedly offered more money to join the Giants, but came back to the Eagles instead. 

Definitely had a couple different offers on the table, but home is home. This just felt right. This felt like the right situation. I think it was just time for me to be back in Philadelphia.

Curry was drafted by the Eagles in the second round back in 2012 after he grew up in Neptune, N.J. as an Eagles fan. But the real reason he wanted to come back to Philly was because of his teammates. Even though he said he had a good time during his one season in Tampa, he missed his teammates in the Eagles’ locker room. He said they’re like brothers. Curry, Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham — minus last year — have played together since 2012. 

But things changed during Curry’s year away. He started every game during the 2017 Super Bowl season, but it is expected that he will come back to the Eagles this year as a rotational player, playing both defensive end and defensive tackle. Graham and Derek Barnett will be the starters at defensive end. 

“When it comes to the role, whatever the team needs me to do, I’ve always been that guy,” Curry said. “You guys know that. Whatever the team needs me to do, I’m going to do it. I don’t have an ego at all.” 

Curry even joked he would play receiver if the Eagles asked. When he was told the Eagles likely won’t ask him to do that, Curry agreed and joked he has “feet for hands.” 

The Eagles cut Curry after the 2017 season because of his contract and Curry on Thursday said he understood why they did it. It’s in the past, he said. Curry was cut for the second straight year when the Bucs parted ways with him this offseason to save $8 million in cap space. (This also means the Eagles won’t lose out on a comp pick by signing him.) 

Last season, Curry played in just 12 games thanks to a high ankle sprain he suffered in Week 6 that left him in a hard cast. But Curry is healthy now and is ready for spring practices. 

Was it a good decision to bring him back? 

Sure, why not. Curry is 30 now and maybe he’s never really lived up to his potential, but he’s a solid player who knows the defense and isn’t making a lot of money. For a rotational piece along the line, Curry makes plenty of sense. 

And he’s really happy to be back. Now, he just hopes he can figure out a way to get his No. 75 back from Josh Sweat. 

“We’re working on that,” he said. “We’re definitely working on that. Hopefully, I’m back in the 75.”

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Source: Eagles bringing back Vinny Curry on 1-year deal

Source: Eagles bringing back Vinny Curry on 1-year deal

The Eagles are bringing back defensive end Vinny Curry, a league source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia. Philly.com first reported a deal was close. 

The one-year deal is worth $2.25 million and Curry can earn an extra $1.25 million in incentives, a league source said.  

Curry, 30, played six years for the Eagles before joining the Bucs last offseason. But Curry made it just one year into his three-year, $23 million contract before he was cut by Tampa Bay. The move saved the Bucs $8 million in 2019 cap space. Since Curry was cut, he won't affect the Eagles' compensatory pick formula. 

Bringing back Curry will help provide the Eagles some depth at defensive end. The plan is to start Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett, but then there isn’t much depth. Second-year player Josh Sweat is unproven. At least Curry will give the Eagles a veteran defensive end for the rotation. 

Chris Long, 34, is under contract, but has been non-committal about his future. The Eagles would still like to have him back. 

In his six seasons with the Eagles, Curry played in 84 games with 23 starts. He had 22 sacks in an Eagles uniform, with nine of them coming during the 2014 season. He never had more than four sacks in any other season. 

Curry, who grew up as an Eagles fan, was taken by the Eagles in the second round of the 2012 NFL draft. 

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