Eagles

Eagles learn about Kobe Bryant's 'Mamba mentality'

Eagles learn about Kobe Bryant's 'Mamba mentality'

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Rodney McLeod broke into a huge grin as he passed along the explanation from Kobe Bryant.

Bryant, an Eagles fan who grew up in Lower Merion, Pennsylvania, spoke to the entire Eagles team Friday morning at their hotel in Costa Mesa, California.

How did Kobe explain his "Mamba mentality?" 

"A killer mentality," McLeod said. "He said literally every time he stepped on that court, he wanted to be the best. He wanted to go out there and kill the guy lining up across from them and make him feel like he didn't deserve to be on the court. Like literally, those were his words. 

"He wanted to make them feel like they shouldn't be a basketball player, they should be an accountant. That's what he said. And you see it when you watch him play. When you have that mindset, it's hard to beat a guy like that."

It takes someone truly great to leave a group of 63 professional athletes and their coaches in awe. Bryant is one of them. McLeod also said Michael Jordan, LeBron James and Derek Jeter would make the list. 

McLeod brought in a pen and pad of paper to take notes, but he ended up recording Bryant's talk and Q&A session in his brain. He didn't get an autograph, but he did get a photo with Bryant, which was good enough for him. 

"It's a dream come true, really," McLeod said. "Electric feeling for me. You just feel the energy and his presence as soon as he came in and talked to us." 

In the Eagles' media guide, McLeod lists Bryant as his favorite childhood athlete. Even though McLeod grew up in Maryland, Bryant's play and mentality won him over at a young age. McLeod considers Bryant to be the greatest basketball player of all time. 

A few thousand miles away from McLeod's childhood home, Kenjon Barner and Joe Walker grew up near Los Angeles, where Bryant was one of the best and most famous players in the NBA with the Lakers.

"It was really cool to see him walk in," said Walker, who, like Barner and McLeod, has Bryant listed as his favorite childhood athlete in the Eagles' media guide. "Growing up a little kid in L.A., I mean, he pretty much built this city."

Friday was the first time Walker had ever been around his childhood hero. But it wasn't the first time for Barner, who had actually met Bryant a few times before. 

Because Barner's cousin is former NBA player Andre Miller, he has been around NBA players for a long time. He doesn't really get starstruck, but the first time he met Bryant, it was something special: "It just makes you say, 'damn!'"

Upon overhearing Barner talk about all the times he had met Bryant before, fellow running back Wendell Smallwood gave him some grief in the overflow locker room at Angel Stadium. 

"He's so cool, Kobe isn't cool to him," Smallwood said. 

Barner stepped in. 

"It's still cool, man," he said. "It doesn't change."

Head coach Doug Pederson said there wasn't really an interesting story about how the Eagles got Bryant to their team hotel. The Eagles simply checked in with him to see if he was available. Bryant was, so he showed up. 

Pederson said a lot of Bryant's message was about focusing and paying attention to details.

That was the part of Bryant's talk that really seemed to stand out to Nelson Agholor, who is recognized as one of the hardest-working members on the team. 

"He's also a guy that has that dog in him when it's time to step on somebody's throat, he'll do that," Agholor said. "I think that was something I'll never forget." 

Eagles sign Soul wide receiver Darius Prince, waive defensive lineman Adam Reth

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Vernon Ray, Creative Mind Productions

Eagles sign Soul wide receiver Darius Prince, waive defensive lineman Adam Reth

Along with a Super Bowl MVP, the Eagles now have an ArenaBowl MVP on their roster. 

The Eagles on Saturday afternoon signed wide receiver Darius Prince and waived defensive tackle Adam Reth. Prince earned ArenaBowl XXX MVP honors with five catches for 27 yards and two touchdowns in the Soul's 44-40 victory over the Tampa Bay Storm last year. 

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Prince has come a long way in the last year. After making his AFL debut in the 2017 playoffs, the 28-year-old had a league-high 89 catches, 1,024 yards receiving and 24 touchdowns this past season in just 12 games. Before joining the Soul, Prince played for the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks of the National Arena League.

“My first thought was how thankful I am to the Lord for giving me this opportunity,” Prince said in a statement. “Then I thought about everything I’ve been through. I started at the bottom and now I am signing a contract with the Super Bowl champs, it’s really a surreal feeling.”

Prince has an interesting background. The McKeesport, Pennsylvania, native didn't play college football, and was a basketball player at Penn State-Greater Allegheny and Penn State-Beaver. 

The Eagles last signed a Soul player in 2016, when they added defensive end Jake Metz, who did not make the final roster. 

“We’re incredibly proud of Darius,” Soul president John Adams said. "He is a great ambassador of the Soul brand and we wish him all the best on this next stop of his career.”

In all likelihood, Prince won't be with the Eagles for long. The team has to cut down to 53 players by 4 p.m. on Sept. 1, and currently has 13 wide receivers on the roster.

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Carson Wentz to resume full-team drills starting Sunday

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AP Images

Carson Wentz to resume full-team drills starting Sunday

There’s some good — albeit expected — news with Carson Wentz.

When the Eagles return to practice Sunday, Wentz will be back in 11-on-11 drills.

Earlier this week, Wentz said he expected to be back in full-team drills this coming week (see story). That’s according to the master plan set forth by the Eagles’ coaches and doctors.

Early in training camp, Wentz was involved in 11-on-11 drills but the team backed off after a few days. Doug Pederson said he saw what he wanted from Wentz and the team didn’t want to expose him to any unnecessary risk.

With less than three weeks until the season opener, Wentz is still targeting a Week 1 return. The last hurdle will still be to get cleared for contact. That hasn’t happened yet.

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