Eagles

Eagles bring back defensive tackle Aziz Shittu, release Blake Countess

Eagles bring back defensive tackle Aziz Shittu, release Blake Countess

The Eagles released one-time sixth-round pick Blake Countess with an injury settlement on Tuesday morning and also brought back defensive tackle Aziz Shittu.

The Eagles drafted Countess in 2016 but released him with the intention of bringing him back on their practice squad, but he instead signed with the Rams and spent three years there, playing mainly on special teams.

He re-signed with the Eagles in May but was slowed in OTAs with a foot injury he suffered with the Rams late last season, and more recently has been out with a significant hamstring injury he suffered in the preseason opener against the Titans last Thursday. 

He hadn’t practiced since and was expected to miss several weeks, according to the Eagles. 

Shittu, 25, initially joined the Eagles as an undrafted rookie out of Stanford just after the 2016 draft. He wound up spending the entire season on the practice squad, then spent all of the 2017 Super Bowl season on Injured Reserve. 

The 6-foot-2, 290-pound Shittu had two stints on the Cowboys’ practice squad last year before getting released in April. He’s been out of football since.

With Countess gone, the Eagles still have a crowded safety group, with starters Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod, offseason pickup Andrew Sendejo, recently acquired Johnathan Cyprien and Tre Sullivan, Trae Elston and Deiondre’ Hall.

The Eagles are banged up at defensive tackle, so Shittu gives them a healthy body for the rest of training camp.

Fletcher Cox hasn’t practiced because of a lingering foot injury from last year, and offseason pickup Hassan Ridgeway is out with a concussion he suffered during the game Thursday night.

The current healthy group includes Tim Jernigan, Malik Jackson, Treyvon Hester, Bruce Hector and Kevin Wilkins along with Shittu.

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Eagles promote Alex Singleton from practice squad to 53-man roster

Eagles promote Alex Singleton from practice squad to 53-man roster

Alex Singleton decided to sign with the Eagles’ practice squad instead of returning to the CFL because he knew it would give him a better chance to achieve his main goal.

Playing in the NFL.

Singleton is one huge step closer to that goal.

Singleton, a two-time CFL All-Star, signed to the Eagles’ 53-man roster Wednesday evening, taking the roster spot left open when the team released starter Zach Brown.

After a terrific training camp and preseason, the 25-year-old Singleton was released as part of the Eagles’ final roster cut-down to 53 on Aug. 30.

He signed to the Eagles’ practice squad two days later, earning $8,000 per week. The promotion to the 53 increases his weekly salary to $29,264 per week.

Earlier in the day, head coach Doug Pederson was vague about why the team released Brown, but he did say it would allow the team to “get some young guys on the roster, give T.J. Edwards an opportunity, Duke Riley gets an opportunity. We’ll keep working those guys in.”

Brown is an undrafted rookie from Wisconsin. Riley came in the Johnathan Cyprien trade. Singleton has been with the team since signing a reserve/future contract on Jan. 8.

With Brown gone and Nigel Bradham looking like he will miss the Cowboys game with an ankle injury, the Eagles won’t have a linebacker older than 25 on the field Sunday night.

Singleton, Riley and Kamu Grugier-Hill are 25, Nate Gerry is 24 and Edwards is 23.

Singleton has never played in an NFL game. He spent time in camp with the Seahawks, Patriots and Vikings in 2015 before heading to Canada and playing for the Calgary Stampeders from 2016 through 2018. 

The Eagles filled Singleton’s spot on the practice squad by adding center Keegan Render, who was with the Eagles this offseason.

Render signed on May 9 and was released on Aug. 30. Render, 6-4, 305 pounds, is an undrafted rookie out of Iowa.

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After 'shocker' of a cut, Eagles LB group is a reminder of volatility in the NFL

After 'shocker' of a cut, Eagles LB group is a reminder of volatility in the NFL

At one point on Tuesday afternoon, Nigel Bradham limped past an empty locker stall where Zach Brown’s nameplate had already been replaced by a generic one that says “Philadelphia Eagles.” 

How’s that for a reminder of how quickly things can change in the NFL? 

“It’s a crazy league,” Kamu Grugier-Hill said. “You know how the business is. Guys come in and out, injuries happen. It’s our job to always be ready and answer the bell.”

Bradham is “day to day” with an ankle injury suffered against the Vikings, while Brown was released on Monday, just a day after he played 58 snaps. 

In one day, Brown went from being a starter to out of a job. 

A few of his now former teammates on Wednesday said that they were surprised by Brown’s release, but at the same time, understand the volatility of life in the NFL. 

“It’s a shocker,” said Nate Gerry, who became good friends with Brown. “But, like I said, s— happens.” 

Grugier-Hill said he found out about Brown like everyone else, when the news hit the internet. 

Sometimes, that’s just life in the NFL. 

“I think at all times, I have learned this is how the business works,” T.J. Edwards said. “You never know what’s going to happen and you have to be prepared at all times to fill a role or do whatever you have to do to show your worth.”

Like Jim Schwartz the day before, head coach Doug Pederson didn’t want to delve into the specifics of why the Eagles cut a starting linebacker six weeks into the season, but did agree with Schwartz that the Eagles need more production from their linebacker group. 

While Pederson said Brown’s comments about Kirk Cousins didn’t have anything to do with his release, Pederson was less clear when asked if the move was strictly based on on-field reasons. 

“Obviously we're based on performance,” Pederson said. “I'm not going to get into a lot of the whys as to why we did it, but we need more production there and so we made a change.”

Without Brown and possibly without Bradham this weekend, the Eagles’ linebacker group could have a much different look when it takes the field against the Cowboys on Sunday night. The good news is that Grugier-Hill says he’s starting to feel like himself after recovering from an MCL sprain in the summer. 

Grugier-Hill along with Gerry and rookie Edwards will likely get most of the playing time. Duke Riley is in the mix as well and Alex Singleton has been called up from the practice squad

But the Eagles could very well be in a situation this Sunday where the two linebackers who have played the most for them this season aren’t on the field. 

“It’s part of the business. People come, people go,” Gerry said. “The week’s gonna go on, no one’s gonna feel sorry for you. You’re just gonna have to pick up where you left off and you have to get better each week.” 

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