Doug Pederson's biggest victory came off the field

Doug Pederson's biggest victory came off the field

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — In his public appearances, Doug Pederson remained stoic. On Dec. 11, just after he announced that Carson Wentz had a torn ACL and was out for the season, he was asked if his team could overcome the loss. 

He emphatically said yes, it could. And he meant it. 

But initially, of course there was a little bit of doubt, a little bit of self-pity. The Eagles were rolling through the season but lost the most important player on their team. They lost the NFL MVP. 

There had to be at least one "Are you kidding me?" moment, right? 

“You know what … maybe in here somewhere," said Pederson, tapping his chest. "But not out here. I would never do that out here. I would never do that in front of the team. I would never do that in front of [reporters]. 

"But, inside, you’re kind of going, ‘Dang, we’ve got this thing going.’ Look at what Oakland did a year ago … they were riding along, and Derek [Carr] went down at the end of the year. You know what I’m saying? But, even for me at that time, it didn’t take long to fire back up, quite honestly. 

"We’ve got a tremendous defense, we use our running game, Nick [Foles is] a veteran quarterback. We had a lot of things going for us at the time … we just won the NFC East, we bought ourselves a ticket to the postseason, we were still in good shape."

On Monday night, Eagles owner Jeff Lurie remembered back to a phone call he had with VP of football operations Howie Roseman in the offseason. Roseman found a way to basically trade in Chase Daniel for Foles, but it meant allocating $12 million this season to the backup quarterback position. Lurie acknowledged that's a little unusual, but he agreed with the idea of bringing back Foles to back up Wentz. 

Lurie called Foles a "big-time, big-game player" and Foles has looked like it in the playoffs after a somewhat rough stretch at the end of the season. 

Wentz's injury and how the team recovered from it were clearly the defining moments of the 2017 season. In hindsight, the Eagles obviously still had a great chance to win without Wentz, but in December, you could understand why that might have been a tough notion to believe. 

Pederson had to sell it to the team. While some guys didn't need the sales pitch, others were understandably a little mopey that Monday morning, when the team's worst fears were confirmed and it found out it was going to be without Wentz for the rest of the season. 

It didn't take long for just about every player to come around, though. It started with Pederson and his veteran leaders taking control, not letting there be any time for self-pity. 

Did Pederson have to sell it to himself a little bit too? 

“It wasn’t a perception. That was real," he said. "That part was an easy sell for me.”

Eagles are raffling off a real deal Super Bowl ring for charity


Eagles are raffling off a real deal Super Bowl ring for charity

Jeff Lurie has turned into Willy Wonka for a good cause. 

The Eagles on Wednesday announced that they’re going to raffle off a Super Bowl ring and all the proceeds will go to the Eagles Autism Challenge, Inc. 

This is pretty cool. 

Click here to donate and enter.  

The coolest part is that the ring the Eagles will give away on Dec. 3 before Monday Night Football against Washington at the Linc, is the real deal ring. The one the players got, with all 219 diamonds and 17 green sapphires. And it'll be personalized. 

The contest is underway and runs through Sept. 30 at 11:59 p.m. Fans can enter the contest by making a donation to the Eagles Autism Challenge, starting at $10 for 100 entries. The fan who wins will also get 50-yard line seats to that Dec. 3 game. 

There are also other incentives for fans who submit 2,500 entries or more. 

The Eagles have already done incredible work through their autism challenge, raising over $2.5 million at the inaugural event in May. This is a pretty cool way to raise even more money for a good cause.

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On his 35th birthday, a look at possible Darren Sproles milestones

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On his 35th birthday, a look at possible Darren Sproles milestones

Generally speaking, running backs either begin to decline or hit a wall around the time they turn 30. 

That hasn’t happened to Darren Sproles. 

In fact, today is Sproles’ birthday. He turns 35 and after rehabbing his way back from a torn ACL and a broken forearm, he still hasn’t shown signs of slowing down. That, in itself, is pretty incredible. 

Since it’s Sproles’ birthday, it seems like a good time to look into the elite company he can join this year as a productive 35-plus-year-old in the NFL. 

Sproles will enter the 2018 season with 19,155 all-purpose yards. He’s already eighth in NFL history and has a chance to surpass quite a few names on this list with a productive season. There are just seven players in front of him and five of them are already Hall of Famers: 

Jerry Rice: 23,546
Brian Mitchell: 23,330
Walter Payton: 21,803
Emmit Smith: 21,564
Tim Brown: 19,682
Marshall Faulk: 19,190
Steve Smith Jr.: 19,180

It’s impossible to know just how productive Sproles will be in 2018, especially as he’s coming off a significant knee injury. Last year, he had only two healthy games and he had just 88 all-purpose yards in them, putting him on pace for 704. That would have been significantly lower than his three previous seasons with the Eagles. 

In those three previous seasons, we saw a very slight decline from 1,237 in 2014 to 1,171 in 2015 to 1,108 in 2016. 

But if Sproles can return to form and is able to eclipse 1,000 all-purpose yards in 2018, he’d become just the eighth running back in NFL history to do it at age 35 or older. A search of Pro Football Reference shows the top mark ever for a running back over 35 (must be 35 or older on Dec. 31 of that year) was Herschel Walker’s season in 1997 (1,336). 

If Sproles eclipses that 1,000-yard mark, he’d also become just the second Eagles player (any position) to do it at 35 or older. The only other Eagle to do it was Irving Fryar, who had 1,316 back in 1997 too. 

He’d also move past Smith, Faulk and Brown into fifth all-time in all-purpose yards, becoming just the fifth player in NFL history to surpass the 20,000-yard mark. 

Even in 2016, when he had a down year as a punt returner, Sproles still had 224 punt return yards. If he surpasses the 200-yard mark this season, he’d be just the third player in NFL history to do it at 35 or older. The other three are Michael Lewis (336 in 2007), Leo Lewis (225 in 1991) and Mel Gray (205 in 1996). 

And this year, with the new kickoff rules, there’s a chance the Eagles might use him as a kick returner too. More chances to pile up yards. 

The man himself doesn’t care too much about individual achievements; he’d rather win another Super Bowl. But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy tracking his progress. 

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