Eagles

Eagles hire Darren Sproles, Brent Celek, Connor Barwin to front office

Eagles hire Darren Sproles, Brent Celek, Connor Barwin to front office

The Eagles continued to overhaul their beleaguered medical and rehab staff Friday when they added a director of sports medicine and a director of sports performance.

The Eagles cut ties with Shaun Huls, their director of high performance, and Shireen Mansoori, their director of rehabilitation, last week.

As the team has been decimated the last three years by injuries, this is the third straight year they've overhauled their medical department.

On Friday, the Eagles  hired Tom Hunkele as director of sports medicine and Ted Roth as director of sports performance.

The Eagles also formally announced the hirings and titles of former Pro Bowlers Darren Sproles, Brent Celek and Connor Barwin. Sproles and Celek are being called personnel consultants and Barwin is a special assistant to the general manager.

The Eagles also added Jeremiah Washburn with the title of director of player personnel and senior defensive assistant.

Let’s take a look at the new hires: 

TOM HUNKELE: Spent the last 14 years with the Vikings, working most of that time under former Eagles assistant trainer Eric Sugarman. Before he joined the Vikings, Hunkele worked for NovaCare Rehabilitation as a physical therapist and also assisted the Eagles’ training staff during the season. He’s a native of Reading.

TED RATH: Rath was in Detroit for five years with Jim Schwartz and then after a year with the Dolphins spent the last three years on the Rams’ strength and conditioning staff. Early last year, Rath was acquitted after being charged near Los Angeles with three counts of sexual battery following an incident that occurred in 2018 at the home of a neighbor. The Rams placed him on a leave of absence, but this past July, after a Ventura County Superior Court jury deliberated for only an hour, he was acquitted on all counts. At some point after that, Rath returned to the Rams. His bio still appears on the Rams’ web site, and it appears he was still employed by the team when the Eagles hired him.

JEREMIAH WASHBURN: Washburn joined the Eagles staff last year as advanced projects coordinator. In his current role, he’ll work under Howie Roseman and Andy Weidl in the scouting department but also have a role on the defensive coaching staff. Washburn, like Rath, was with Schwartz in Detroit after serving as an offensive line coach with the Dolphins and Bears. Before he went over to the coaching side he spent six years in the Ravens’ scouting department under Joe Douglas.

CONNOR BARWIN: The former Eagles’ Pro Bowl linebacker was with the club a lot late in the season and last month Barwin talked about his new post-retirement role with the Eagles.

DARREN SPROLES: The three-time Pro Bowl running back and returner retired after this season, his 15th in the NFL. Sproles spent the last six years with the Eagles but played only 15 games the last three years. 

BRENT CELEK: Like Barwin, Celek was around the team a lot this season, and it was just a matter of finding what the Eagles’ plans were for him. Celek retired after the 2017 season. He played 175 games in his career, all with the Eagles, catching 398 passes for 4,998 yards and 31 touchdowns.

More on the Eagles

Jason Kelce egregiously snubbed by NFL's all-decade voters

Jason Kelce egregiously snubbed by NFL's all-decade voters

Jason Kelce was the best center in the NFL over the last decade and no fraud all-decade team is going to change that.

The NFL on Monday announced its team of the decade, and it was good to see LeSean McCoy, Darren Sproles, Fletcher Cox and Jason Peters named. All are deserving.

But the absence of Kelce is egregious. 

Not surprisingly, the same people who haven’t figured out that Eric Allen was one of the greatest cornerbacks to ever play the game — the Pro Football Hall of Fame voters — are the same people who have decided that Kelce wasn’t one of the two best centers in the NFL from 2010 through 2019.

Alex Mack and Maurkice Pouncey were the centers named to the team of the decade, and guess what.

Kelce has made first-team all-pro more than both of them combined.

Kelce three times, Pouncey twice, Mack zip.

Pouncey deserves one of the two slots. He’s made eight Pro Bowls with the Steelers and played on six playoff teams and a Super Bowl loser. Hell of a career.

Mack? Ask any defensive tackle in the NFL if he’d rather face Kelce or Alex Mack. 

Mack’s been a really good player, and he does have more Pro Bowls than Kelce. But he was a 1st-round pick, and those guys tend to make Pro Bowls much earlier than 6th-round picks like Kelce. 

Kelce didn’t make his first Pro Bowl until his fourth season, and he was absurdly snubbed in the Pro Bowl voting in 2017 and 2018, when he was the best center in football, made first-team all-pro both times and didn’t get picked to the Pro Bowl team.

Kelce is the only active player in the NFL that’s had two all-pro seasons in which he didn’t make the Pro Bowl and one of only six in history.

It’s tough making up ground when you’re a 6th-round pick. You come into the league with no hype, and unless you see the guy play every Sunday you can’t imagine he’s really that good.

The rest of the country finally realized in 2017 what we already knew. Kelce guy is a beast. It took way too long. And judging by this NFL all-decade team people still haven’t figured out how good he is.

Kelce has added a dimension of athleticism to the center position that may be unprecedented. What he lacks in size and strength he makes up for in determination, intelligence and leverage. 

Kelce is one of six centers in NFL history to make first-team all-pro three straight years, the only one to do it in the last 20 years. All the others are Hall of Famers.

He’s also one of only seven centers in NFL history to be named all-pro three times AND to win a Super Bowl or NFL Championship. He’s the only one to do it in the last 35 years.

Kelce did make the Pro Football Writers Association all-decade team, so at least somebody got it right.

The thing that’s really disturbing is that Kelce is building a Hall of Fame resume, and the people that snubbed him for this honor could very well do the same when he’s in the Hall of Fame conversation. All-decade teams are one of the leading criteria Hall of Fame voters cite when justifying their picks.

All I know is Kelce is one of the smartest, toughest guys I’ve ever seen. He’s played through injuries that would have ended most guys’ seasons and some guys’ careers.

And he’s done it at a consistently high level since beating out Jamaal Jackson for the starting job in the summer of 2011.

Kelce probably doesn’t give a darn about all this. He’s never been one to take individual honors seriously. That’s not why he plays the game. 

He plays the game for moments like Feb. 4, 2018, and that’s something that none of the so-called experts can ever take away.

Subscribe and rate the Eagle Eye podcast: 
Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Stitcher / Spotify / Art19

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

NFL to reverse controversial pass interference rule for 2020 season: report

NFL to reverse controversial pass interference rule for 2020 season: report

After a one-year flirtation with pass interference challenges didn't really solve anything, the NFL is expected to end the experiment.

Pass interference replay "almost certainly will not be extended", according to a report Monday from NFL.com's Judy Battista:

This isn't terribly surprising. The rule was put in place largely because Sean Payton and the New Orleans Saints complained very loudly after an enormous missed call in the 2018-19 postseason.

That crucial uncalled pass interference, you might recall, was committed by new Eagles cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman:

The 2019 regular season allowed coaches to challenge pass interference calls, either called or uncalled, but the results were a mixture of underwhelming and frustrating.

Eagles fans probably remember this very obvious Avonte Maddox pass interference that wasn't called, was challenged by Packers coach Matt LaFleur, and then still wasn't called:

That was insane.

"The cumulative effect of the misses, plus the replay spotlight on these misses, has really taken its toll," former NFL ref and current NBC rules analyst Terry McAulay told the New York Times last November.

The line for what constitutes pass interference was shown - as football watchers already knew - to be an indistinct and ever-moving line, and the ability to challenge the calls just created one more layer of aggrivation.

If the league does indeed remove the rule, it will be a victory. Fans, players, and coaches will still yell about missed pass interference calls - but at least they won't have to do it twice.

Subscribe and rate the Eagle Eye podcast: 
Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Stitcher / Spotify / Art19

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles