Eagles

Daryl Worley was last to know he was heading home

Daryl Worley was last to know he was heading home

Sometimes Paradise doesn’t have great cell service. That’s one of the reasons it’s paradise. 

So back on March 9, when the Panthers traded Daryl Worley to the Eagles, Worley was one of the last to find out. See, when the trade went down, the 23-year-old cornerback was on vacation in the Bahamas. More specifically, he was on a short boat cruise over crystal blue water as a wave of messages flooded his phone. 

While his family and friends in his hometown were celebrating his return back to Philadelphia, Worley was blissfully unaware. 

Until the boat got back to shore. 

“My phone just lit up,” the cornerback said on Monday afternoon at his introductory press conference in Philly. “And I read the text messages, and I thought people were joking.” 

They weren’t. The Eagles shipped Torrey Smith and his bloated contract to Carolina and in return, the Panthers were willing to give up Worley, whom they drafted in the third round out of West Virginia in 2016. Worley was inundated with missed calls and text messages, many from loved ones in Philadelphia, still his home in the offseason. But his first phone call was to his father, Kenneth, who was “very emotional about the situation.” 

Worley’s parents still live in the same North Philadelphia neighborhood — near Temple University Hospital — where he was raised and where he grew up as an Eagles fan. 

Playing football as a youngster and then at Penn Charter, Worley was a two-way player; a safety on defense and a wide receiver on offense. So it shouldn’t be too big of a shock that he said his favorite Eagles player of all time is Terrell Owens. Worley was 15 days shy of his 10th birthday when he watched Owens play in — and nearly help the Eagles win — Super Bowl XXXIX. Owens and Worley stand in stark juxtaposition in Eagles history. While Owens was overly outspoken, Worley’s high school coach described his former player as a really quiet guy (see story).  

Still, it shouldn’t be too difficult for Worley to fit into the Eagles’ locker room. He’ll join several of his college teammates in Philly. He was in the same defensive backfield as Rasul Douglas for two seasons at West Virginia. He considers Wendell Smallwood one of his closest friends. And he was freshman roommates with Shelton Gibson; Worley claims he was the cleaner of the two. 

Sure, there might be some hurdles for Worley as he plays in Philly, but he understands that. He’s prepared to be pulled in several different directions.  

“Coming back home to things like this, there’s going to be a lot more asked of me, on the field and off the field,” he said, “but with that being said, I have a great support group around me and I know I have a great group of guys so anything I may need or ask for I know they’ll be able to help me with it.”

Worley isn’t sure what his role will be with the Eagles and he probably won’t know (at the earliest) until offseason workouts begin in April. Until then, he’s going to do as much film study as possible as he settles back into life where he grew up. 

Philly isn’t exactly paradise — it’s about to snow in March — but Worley is home, he gets to play for the team he rooted for as a kid. And besides, cellphones can be turned off.  

Malcolm Jenkins reacts to settlement in Colin Kaepernick collusion case

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USA Today Images

Malcolm Jenkins reacts to settlement in Colin Kaepernick collusion case

In the wake of news that the NFL had settled collusion cases brought forth by Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid, fellow activist and Eagle Malcolm Jenkins has weighed in. 

Despite some disagreements between the men in the past, Jenkins has always maintained that Kaepernick and Reid belonged in the league and thought NFL owners colluded to keep Kaepernick and Reid out of the NFL. 

Reid is now employed by the Carolina Panthers, but Kaepernick hasn’t played in the NFL since 2016. 

You’ll remember in October, Jenkins and Reid got into a heated exchange before the Eagles-Panthers game at the Linc. And after the game, Reid called Jenkins a sellout and a coward (see story).  

That day, Jenkins refused to get into a war of words. 

"I would never get up here and say anything bad about somebody who I know [their] intentions were about helping their communities, especially another black man," Jenkins said on Oct. 21, after the game. "I'll leave it at that."

The exchange between Jenkins and Reid that day stemmed from lingering animosity about the way the Players Coalition — led by Jenkins — brokered a $90 million deal with the NFL to help with projects dealing with racial inequality. 

On Friday afternoon, the NFL released the following statement: 

"For the past several months, counsel for Mr. Kaepernick and Mr. Reid have engaged in an ongoing dialogue with representatives of the NFL. As a result of those discussions, the parties have decided to resolve the pending grievances. The resolution of this matter is subject to a confidentiality agreement so there will be no further comment by any party."

Because of the confidentiality agreement, we don’t know how much this settlement is worth, but it’s likely to be very significant. It’s also unclear if the NFL admitted any wrongdoing in the settlement. 

The grievances began when Kaepernick and Reid claimed they had been blacklisted by the NFL for demonstrating during the national anthem. Kaepernick began those protests by sitting and then later taking a knee. 

Jenkins raised his fist during the anthem but stopped once his Players Coalition brokered that deal in 2017. Jenkins raised his fist in the Eagles’ preseason opener in 2018, but did not during the 2018 season. Jenkins has said many times he wants the focus to be on work in the community and not the demonstrations. 

A tweet earlier on Friday falls in line with that. 

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This offseason, Eagles need to finally find stability at running back

This offseason, Eagles need to finally find stability at running back

When Chip Kelly traded away LeSean McCoy nearly four years ago, he sent the Eagles down a road of complete instability at that position. In the four seasons since that move, the Eagles have had four different leading rushers. 

This offseason, it’s time for the Eagles to find a new featured back. 

There are options, of course. They can try to pick one up in free agency, they can make a trade or they can try to draft the next guy, which is probably the way I’d lean.  

I know what you’re going to say: Well, the Eagles won a Super Bowl with a running back by committee. Doug Pederson seems to prefer it.

I don’t think that’s necessarily the case. This past season, the Eagles seemed eager to find out if Josh Adams could be the lead guy. They want someone to be the starter and at least be the primary runner of the group. That guy needs to be a three-down back who can catch the ball too. 

Think about this: Before Chipper traded away McCoy, Shady led the Eagles in rushing for six straight seasons. Before then, Brian Westbrook led the team in rushing for six straight seasons. So that was 12 straight years (2003-2014) with two of the best running backs in franchise history. Before then, Duce did it in four of five seasons and, before that, Ricky Watters did it for three straight. The Eagles haven’t had this type of instability at running back since the '80s. 

Since Shady’s last season in Philly, DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews, LeGarrette Blount and Adams have all had their turn as the Eagles’ leading rusher. 

And in 2014, his last season with the Eagles, McCoy rushed for 1,319 yards. In the four years since, the Eagles’ top two rushers in each season added together haven’t reached that total. The closest they came was when Murray and Mathews combined for 1,241 in 2015. 

Take a look at the last four years: 

2018
Josh Adams: 120 carries, 511 yards, 3 TDs
Wendell Smallwood: 87 carries, 364 yards, 3 TDs
Corey Clement: 68 carries, 259 yards, 2 TDs
Jay Ajayi: 45 carries, 184 yards, 3 TDs
Darren Sproles: 29 carries, 120 yards, 1 TD

2017
LeGarrette Blount: 173 carries, 766 yards, 2 TDs
Corey Clement: 74 carries, 321 yards, 4 TDs
Jay Ajayi: 70 carries, 408 yards, 1 TD 
Wendell Smallwood: 47 carries, 174 yards, 1 TD
Kenjon Barner: 16 carries, 57 yards, 1 TD
Darren Sproles: 15 carries, 61 yards 

2016 
Ryan Mathews: 155 carries, 661 yards, 8 TDs 
Darren Sproles: 94 carries, 438 yards, 2 TDs
Wendell Smallwood: 77 carries, 312 yards, 1 TD
Kenjon Barner: 27 carries, 129 yards, 2 TDs
Byron Marshall: 19 carries, 64 yards 
Terrell Watson: 9 carries, 28 yards, 1 TD

2015
DeMarco Murray: 193 carries, 702 yards, 6 TDs 
Ryan Matthews: 106 carries, 539 yards, 6 TDs
Darren Sproles: 83 carries, 317 yards, 3 TDs
Kenjon Barner: 28 carries, 124 yards

In the four years since Shady has been gone, the Eagles have drafted just two running backs. They took Smallwood in the fifth round of the 2016 draft and took Donnel Pumphrey in the fourth round of the 2017 draft. Smallwood has at least developed into a serviceable backup/rotational player, but Pumphrey hasn’t played a single snap in the NFL. 

Looking at the position now, there are obvious question marks just with the guys who were on the team last year. Ajayi is coming off a torn ACL, already had knee problems and is a pending free agent. Darren Sproles is a 35-year-old pending free agent who might retire. Clement is under contract but is coming back from a season-ending knee injury of his own. Adams was the leading rusher in 2018 but was benched in the playoffs. And Smallwood is under contract but clearly isn’t going to be the No. 1. 

The Eagles haven’t drafted a running back in the first two rounds since they took Shady back in 2009, but with two second-round picks this year, maybe that changes. Either way, it’s time to finally find some stability that hasn’t been there for the last four seasons.

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