Eagles

Why vocal former Eagle, Patriot Chris Long says he's finally quitting Twitter

Why vocal former Eagle, Patriot Chris Long says he's finally quitting Twitter

Former Eagles defensive lineman and two-time Super Bowl champion Chris Long had a reputation during his playing days for using his voice, both online and offline, to champion causes and crack jokes, but it seems he's nearing his limit with internet chatter.

Long posted a length Instagram story on Monday in which he said he's "pretty much done" with Twitter, a site on which Long was extremely popular. Long tweeted more than 11,000 times since joining Twitter in January 2013. He racked up more than 650,000 followers on the microblogging site, from Eagles teammates to Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner. He has more than 420,000 followers on Instagram.

Here's how Long explained his decision to quit Twitter:

"A year out of football has given me that clarity. [Twitter], I likened it last week to a drug with no bug. No redeeming qualities, just a place for people to b***h at each other. You could go on there and say the sky is blue, and you'd have 50 people in your mentions telling you, 'Well, it's a different shade of blue. It's a different hue. It depends on how you look at it. And also, that's offensive to me.' They'd tell you it's red, it's yellow. Listen, this isn't a political thing. Everyone knows my politics. But pretty much across the board, if you're on Twitter, you annoy the s**t out of me. 

"Okay, let me take one thing back: I've met a lot of good people on Twitter. So all accounts are not annoying. But just the vast majority of them. And I gotta wade through the 95% to get to the 5% I actually want to read or hear from, or interact with. And there are a number of awesome followers who I've really had a good rapport with over the years, and people I follow that I really like, so let me not make a blanketed statement. 

"But the site, as a whole, is annoying as s**t, and I prefer this as a medium to fire off opinions, or whatever. And I have a podcast now. When I was a player, I didn't have a podcast, I didn't have anything to get my voice out the way I wanted it to get out. Twitter, although imperfect, was the vehicle. Now, I'm like, 'What the hell am I doing on that site? I've got my podcast.' Green Light Pod, check it out."

It's interesting to hear Long talk about being a player who wants to be heard. Tons of athletes use Twitter and Instagram as a way to get their own voices and messages out into the general discourse, but we're also starting to see athletes take more involved routes, like podcasts, before their playing days are over.

Former 76ers sharpshooter J.J. Redick started his own podcast with The Ringer as a way to discuss the NBA, its culture, its ins and outs, and a number of non-basketball topics without the constraints of Twitter - though the notoriously Twitter-less Redick actually re-joined the website earlier this year.

LeBron James, certainly an exceptional case, is a co-producer and recurring face on HBO's show "The Shop", where athletes and celebrities gather to talk about culture, past and present, in a more long-form setting.

And Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard is using his talents as a rapper to explain his thoughts through music. When he released his latest song, "Blacklist", he tweeted the message "Let me vent", but decided to let the song do the talking instead of a Tweet thread.

As Long noted, sites like Twitter - and, to an extent, Instagram - are imperfect, and they often incentivize rushed thoughts and big reactions. As prominent athletes continue to push for control of their own narratives, it will be interesting to see if they eventually avoid context-crushing mediums like Twitter altogether and instead find long-form places to speak about their interests.

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Chad Johnson geeked up about these DeSean Jackson clips from training camp

Chad Johnson geeked up about these DeSean Jackson clips from training camp

DeSean Jackson is 33 years old now and he’s coming off a sports hernia surgery that basically wrecked his 2019 season. 

But he still has it. 

On Friday afternoon, former NFL receiver Chad Johnson shared some 1-on-1 practice video that Jackson sent his way from the Eagles’ ongoing training camp practices. Johnson was pretty excited to get these clips and posted a couple on his Twitter account. 

That one is Jackson going against Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay, in his first training camp with the Eagles. This will be a fun battle all camp long. Last year in training camp, DeSean dominated but he didn’t have a top tier cornerback to go against. 

It was fun to watch Jackson do this to the DBs in camp last year, but now he’s going against a three-time Pro Bowler and one of the best corners in the game. And Slay still stood no chance. 

That little hesitation step from Jackson and the explosion out of it is pretty wild. In a regular foot race no one is going to beat Jackson; if he gets the DB flat-footed, forget about it. And Jackson is going to beat corners as long as he’s healthy. That’s why so many defensive coordinators slide any help they can that way. 

And then there’s this hitch route that Johnson posted with some NSFW language.

On that one, you can see that Slay has to respect the deep ball and Jackson has that change of direction ability. One of the misconceptions about Jackson is that he’s just a go route deep threat; but that’s not the case. He can run short and intermediate routes well and it’s all set up from his ability to burn corners deep. 

The Eagles won’t be in pads until Monday, which is also when reporters are allowed to watch practice. I can’t wait to see this battle in person and report back. 

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Jon Gruden's curious comparison of Nelson Agholor and Randall Cunningham

Jon Gruden's curious comparison of Nelson Agholor and Randall Cunningham

Twenty-five years ago, Randall Cunningham retired after a dismal final season with the Eagles. 

Two years later he came out of retirement, signed with the Vikings and a year later had one of the greatest quarterback seasons ever, earned MVP honors and would have taken the Vikings to the Super Bowl if not for some terrible coaching by Dennis Green.

Cunningham’s offensive coordinator his last year in Philly? Jon Gruden.

Gruden today is head coach of the Raiders, and one of his pet projects is Nelson Agholor.

“A change of scenery worked for Randall Cunningham, maybe it will work for him,” Gruden told the Athletic.

Interestingly, Cunningham, who settled in Las Vegas after playing college football at UNLV, is now the Raiders’ team chaplain.

As for Agholor, he’s trying to rebuild a career that despite some great moments in 2017 and a brilliant Super Bowl never lived up to expectations.

"I trust him and I think he was picked high in the draft for a reason,” Gruden said of Agholor. "He’s a good player. You can pick up the Philadelphia Inquirer and they will probably say something different, but this guy has caught over 200 passes, he’s a young guy, he has played split end, flanker and in the slot. He caught eight or nine passes in a Super Bowl (9-for-84) and won a Super Bowl. So he's a world champion. He's a great person.”

Agholor caught 224 passes for 2,515 yards and 18 touchdowns in five seasons with the Eagles, who made him the 20th pick in Chip Kelly’s 2015 draft.

He never caught more than 768 yards in a season and he surpassed 64 yards in only nine of his 76 games here.

Agholor said he and Gruden actually have a family connection that goes back to when he was in high school at Berkeley Prep in Tampa and Gruden had just finished coaching the Buccaneers.

“He actually used to hang around after his days coaching in Tampa, he still lived in Tampa, and he would always go to a racetrack near his home, and my brother worked at that racetrack so him and my brother spent a lot of time talking every morning when Jon was getting his coffee about football and about my college career and things like that,” Agholor said in a Zoom call with Raiders writers. 

“So it’s a blessing to be in this opportunity having a previous relationship. But at the end of the day I chose this relationship because he knows the game and all I want to do is learn and be a better player.”

The Eagles, who paid Agholor nearly $19 million over the last five years, made no attempt to re-sign the 27-year-old after last season ended.

He signed a one-year minimum salary benefit deal with the Raiders worth barely above minimum wage - $1.0475 million.

In Vegas, he’ll likely compete for slot reps with Hunter Renfrow, who had 49-for-605 with 4 TDs as a rookie 5th-round pick last year.

“Honestly, this is a beautiful opportunity for me to get a chance to play with a guy like Jon Gruden, who has a background in coaching receivers,” Agholor said. “I chose this opportunity to make myself a better player. There’s no better opportunity to play for a head coach that knows receiver play and can articulate ways you can get better.

“My No. 1 goal is to progress as a player.  Lot of things that happened in the past, some really good things and some things I wanted to grow from. I told myself this opportunity is to be 2 percent better than the player I was in my previous five years.”
 

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