Eagles

Eagles safety Andrew Sendejo happy to be on this side now

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Eagles safety Andrew Sendejo happy to be on this side now

When veteran safety Andrew Sendejo signed his one-year deal with the Eagles on Thursday, it might have very well been his first happy memory in Philly. 

The 31-year-old has only played in Lincoln Financial Field twice.

He was a part of the Vikings team that got demolished 38-7 in the 2017 NFC Championship Game. 

And then last year, even though the Vikings got a win over the Eagles, Sendejo suffered a season-ending groin injury at the Linc in Week 5. 

“Obviously being an opponent coming here has always been tough, so I’m looking forward to being of the good side of that now,” Sendejo said on a conference call with Philly reporters on Thursday afternoon.

“I’m excited to just be here and have the fans cheering for me as opposed to screaming obscenities at me.”

Fans will probably most remember Sendejo as the speed bump on LeGarrette Blount’s touchdown run early in the second quarter of the 2017 championship game. 

What was it like to be on that side of the play? 

“Did you watch the play?” Sendejo fired back.

Yup. 

“Well, then you know exactly what it felt like then.” 

OK then. 

Sendejo came into the league as an undrafted player in Dallas but joined the Vikings in his second NFL season and worked his way up as a special teamer first and then as a starter. He spend his last four seasons as a full-time starter. His streak as a starter, barring something unforeseen, is surely going to stop in 2019. 

The Eagles still have Malcolm Jenkins, who is one of their top players and leaders on defense. So he’s not getting bumped. And then Rodney McLeod reworked his deal to stay with the Eagles this season. He’s going to start next to Jenkins. 

But with Corey Graham gone, that leaves the very important third safety role up for grabs. Sendejo will either just take that role for himself or will split time with Tre Sullivan, who came on strong toward the end of last season. Sendejo said the Eagles haven’t yet discussed role with him yet. 

“I’m not going to make decisions on the depth chart or who goes where, I’m just here to help us win wherever I can do that,” he said. “If you want to ask about the depth chart or whatever, you can call Coach Pederson and he’ll probably be able to answer that question. I’m just happy to be here, happy to be with these guys, get to know these guys.”

Full disclosure: I didn’t call Doug. But we’ll talk with him next week for an hour at the owners meetings and we’ll try to get a better idea of what the Eagles’ secondary will look like this year.  

Sendejo said one of the things that drew him to the Eagles was the way the franchise has been able to overcome adversity over the last two years. They did it with a lot of will power, but also with talented role players. Sendejo is now in the mix as one of them. 

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Former Eagles kicker Tom Dempsey dies after battle with coronavirus

Former Eagles kicker Tom Dempsey dies after battle with coronavirus

Former Eagles kicker Tom Dempsey died on Saturday of complications from the coronavirus. Dempsey was 73.

Dempsey contracted the coronavirus in March at the Lambeth House, a retirement home in New Orleans, and is one of at least 15 residents to die from the virus, according to The Times-Picayune.

Dempsey was an Eagle from 1971-1974, but also played for the Saints, Rams, Oilers and Bills.

Born without fingers on his right hand and toes on his right foot, Dempsey was known for his small flat kicking shoe. That shoe now resides in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

“Tom's life spoke directly to the power of the human spirit and exemplified his resolute determination to not allow setbacks to impede following his dreams and aspirations,” Saints owner Gayle Benson said in a statement. “He exemplified the same fight and fortitude in recent years as he battled valiantly against illnesses but never wavered and kept his trademark sense of humor. He holds a special place in the hearts and minds of the Saints family."

The year before he joined the Eagles, Dempsey gained fame by kicking a 63-yard field goal to give the Saints a last-second 19-17 win over the Lions at Tulane Stadium in 1970. It broke the previous NFL record for longest field goal by 7 yards.

That was the NFL record for 43 years until Matt Prater hit a 64-yarder in 2013. Others had tied the record but it took over four decades to beat it.

In his four seasons with the Eagles, for whom he played the longest, Dempsey kicked in 47 games and made 66 of 108 field goals (61.1%). He also made 84 of 90 point-after attempts. Dempsey is 18th on the Eagles’ list of all-time scorers with 282 points.

Dempsey retired to New Orleans where he began his NFL career as an undrafted free agent in 1969. He had been battling dementia since 2012. 

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Darius Slay explains why he’s wearing 24 to honor Kobe Bryant

Darius Slay explains why he’s wearing 24 to honor Kobe Bryant

You can still hear the giddiness in Darius Slay’s voice when he talks about Dec. 6, 2015. 

That was a special day for the Eagles’ new cornerback. 

That was the day he met the Kobe Bryant. 

The meeting between the late NBA superstar and the then-third-year NFL pro came after a Lakers-Pistons game at The Palace of Auburn Hills during the 2015 season. It’s a day and a moment Slay will never forget, getting the chance to meet his favorite basketball player and a personal idol. 

And now with the Eagles, Slay will honor Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26, by wearing the No. 24 for the football team Bryant loved. 

“I was surprised that he even knew me,” Slay said. “I don’t know if the people told him, ‘You got Darius Slay out there waiting on you from the Detroit Lions’ or gave him a pre-talk about me or something. I don’t know. 

“But the fact that he came around the corner and (there) was like 20 to 30 reporters waiting on him, he kind of walked past all the reporters, everybody and came directly to me, like, ‘What’s up Slay? I love your game, man.’ He was talking about my style of play and we just chopped it up for a minute.”

Slay said he was so in shock that day he barely had any words to speak but he was able to hold a short conversation. Then Slay got Kobe’s autograph and they took a few photos together, including this one: 

Slay previously wore No. 23 in Detroit but that number is occupied by Rodney McLeod with the Eagles. And Jordan Howard, who wore 24 last year, left for Miami as a free agent. So things lined up perfectly for Slay to take the second of Kobe’s two retired numbers. 

When Bryant died in January, it became even more apparent how much he meant to his fellow athletes. When Bryant visited the Eagles in LA during the 2017 season, there was a similar giddiness with them. There’s a really good chance that Bryant was your favorite athlete’s favorite athlete. 

“I just love how much he competed,” Slay said. “He was a true competitor. He worked on his craft. I believe the work you put in is [what] you get out of it.” 

Slay said he also really admired that Bryant was always willing to seek out answers from others, most notably Michael Jordan. Even though Bryant was constantly being compared to Jordan, he was never hesitant to pick Jordan’s brain. 

Similarly, Slay said he loves talking to other cornerbacks and asking advice. He doesn’t care who that cornerback is; if he has a question about their technique or facing a particular receiver, he’s going to ask. 

“It’s just the part about doing anything and be willing to do anything to be good and be great,” Slay said. “That’s why I took out a lot of stuff that he did and that’s what I’ll continue to keep doing.”

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