Eagles

Did Howie Roseman really try to trade for LeSean McCoy?

usatsi_mccoy.jpg
USA Today Images

Did Howie Roseman really try to trade for LeSean McCoy?

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — The Eagles tried to steal LeSean McCoy back from the Bills after Chip Kelly’s firing, but the Bills rejected the Eagles’ trade offers, according to a story in the New York Daily News.

According to the story, Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman tried to undo Kelly’s catastrophic trade of McCoy to the Bills by offering Jordan Matthews and other unnamed players at some point after he regained control of the front office. 

Kelly traded McCoy to the Bills in exchange for linebacker Kiko Alonso after the 2014 season and was fired after the 2015 season. The Eagles wound up trading Matthews to the Bills anyway this past summer for cornerback Ronald Darby.

McCoy, one of the most popular players in recent Eagles history, has long been outspoken about his dislike of Kelly, who is now the head coach at UCLA. He said recently on NFL Network: “I got a lot of love for Philadelphia now that the little short coach is with the kids, where he belongs.”

McCoy is the Eagles’ all-time leading rusher with 6,792 yards in six seasons. In three years with the Bills, he has 3,300 yards. He’s made six Pro Bowls, including five in a row. He’s already one of only 14 players in NFL history with 10,000 rushing yards and 400 receptions, and his 4.6 career rushing average is second-highest of those 14 players. He’s one of just six players to reach 10,000 rushing yards and 400 catches before his 30th birthday.

McCoy’s career body of work has put him into the Hall of Fame conversation. Although his rushing average was down to a career-low 4.0 this year, he still had 1,138 rushing yards, 59 receptions and eight touchdowns.

The Eagles have been trying to figure out the running back position since McCoy’s departure after the 2014 season. They signed DeMarco Murray initially to replace McCoy, but he averaged only 3.6 yards per carry and was traded to the Titans after the 2015 season.

Ryan Mathews, who had backed up Murray in 2015, was promoted to the lead role and averaged 4.3 yards per carry in 2016 but was injured much of the season and was released after undergoing offseason neck surgery. He was out of football this past season.

This year, the Eagles got to the Super Bowl with veteran LeGarrette Blount, midseason acquisition Jay Ajayi and undrafted rookie Corey Clement. Wendell Smallwood began the season as one of the main backs but has been mainly inactive since Ajayi’s arrival. Darren Sproles has been out with an injury since Week 3 and is scheduled to be a free agent.

The one thing the Shady trade did accomplish is it helped the Eagles land Carson Wentz, since one of the picks the Eagles acquired when they traded Alonso and Byron Maxwell to the Dolphins wound up going to the Browns as part of the deal that brought the Eagles the No. 2 pick in the 2016 draft.

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

ap-greg-ward-eagles.jpg
AP Images

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

ap-jay-ajayi.jpg
AP Images

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.