Eagles

Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins explains why he resumed national anthem protest

Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins explains why he resumed national anthem protest

As the Star-Spangled Banner began to play at Lincoln Financial Field on Thursday night before the first preseason game of the Eagles’ 2018 season, safety Malcolm Jenkins resumed the silent demonstration he paused toward the end of last season. 

Jenkins rose his right fist in the air, a protest against racial and social inequality in the United States. 

He said he didn’t make his decision to do it until just before the game. 

“It’s something I wrestle with all the time,” Jenkins said at his locker after the game. “There was no one incident or moment that made me decide. It was more so, I just couldn’t really think of a good reason not to.”

Jenkins, 30, had paused his protest late last season after the NFL pledged $100 million to causes to combat the same issues Jenkins is trying to fix. But then this offseason, the NFL passed an anthem policy requiring players to either stand respectfully or stay in the locker room. 

The policy states the NFL can fine teams of players who demonstrate, but those fines are now on hold as the league and the NFLPA are in discussions about the issue and the policy. 

"The NFL has been engaged in constructive discussions with the NFL Players Association regarding the anthem and issues of equality and social justice that are of concern to many Americans," league spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an email to the Associated Press.

"While those discussions continue, the NFL has agreed to delay implementing or enforcing any club work rules that could result in players being disciplined for their conduct during the performance of the anthem.

"Meanwhile, there has been no change in the NFL's policy regarding the national anthem. The anthem will continue to be played before every game, and all player and non-player personnel on the field at that time are expected to stand during the presentation of the flag and performance of the anthem. Personnel who do not wish to do so can choose to remain in the locker room.

"We remain committed to working with the players to identify solutions and to continue making progress on important social issues affecting our communities."

Jenkins wasn’t the only Eagles player to demonstrate during the national anthem. Cornerback De’Vante Bausby also raised his fist. Chris Long put his arm around Jenkins as he did last season. Newcomer Michael Bennett walked down the sideline during the playing of the song, but his intent was not necessarily known.  

Jenkins said he didn’t know Bausby was going to join him in protest; Jenkins said he tries not to talk to his teammates about it for fear that they’ll think he’s pressuring them to join. 

“I think it was just a culmination of how the offseason went and where we are now,” Jenkins said. “I think it’s important that we continue to keep this conversation going, that we don’t let it get stagnant. As we understand it, everyone is kind of waiting to see what the league is going to do. That doesn’t mean that we stop what we’ve been standing up for. That’s just my personal decision to make sure that we keep these things in the forefront.”

Jenkins admitted he doesn’t know what’s going to happen if the NFL’s policy is fully reinstated. He admitted he doesn’t even know how the demonstration will manifest itself next Thursday, when the Eagles play the Patriots in New England. 

The important thing for Jenkins is the work he does in communities off the field. The reason he wrestles with the decision of whether or not to demonstrate, he says, is because he knows he’s representing a large portion of people. He said he wants to make sure he has their best interest at heart. 

Long said the important thing for him is the work Jenkins does off the field. That’s why he has no problem supporting his teammate. 

“[Jenkins] can always sleep good at night knowing that he’s not being a fraud,” Long said. “He’s protesting and he’s working in the community, like a lot of these guys are doing. At the end of the day, he’s maybe going back and forth on, ‘Should I protest or not?’ But he’s going to do the same thing off the field, which is, he’s going to move the needle off the field.”

Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.

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Eagles release linebacker Zach Brown

Eagles release linebacker Zach Brown

Three days after linebacker Zach Brown called Kirk Cousins “the weakest part” of the Vikings’ offense and one day after Cousins threw four touchdowns against the Eagles, the Eagles parted ways with Brown.

The Eagles signed the one-time Pro Bowler this past offseason to a one-year, $1.4 million contract, but he played only six games and made virtually no impact. He was credited with 29 tackles and two pass breakups.

The move came after head coach Doug Pederson met with the media earlier in the day and without comment. Pederson is not scheduled to meet with the media again until Wednesday.

The Brown signing was a big deal when the Eagles signed him in May. He was expected to help offset the departure of Jordan Hicks, who signed with the Cards.

Brown’s $1 million base salary and $400,000 signing bonus were guaranteed.

The move doesn't affect the Eagles' salary cap since Brown was playing on a one-year deal and his base and signing bonus were both guaranteed.

How much of the move was related to Brown’s ridiculous trash-talking last week, which backfired in embarrassing fashion, and how much was related to his nondescript level of play isn’t clear.

But the timing of the move is very unusual for a starting player and indicates there were important factors in play that led to the move beyond his performance on the field.

It's reminiscent of the Eagles releasing Jason Babin 11 games into the nightmarish 2012 season one year after he had 18 sacks.

Whoever winds up signing Brown will be his fifth team in the last five years.

Brown played 271 snaps in the Eagles’ first six games, second most of any linebacker behind Bradham’s 352.

The Eagles, who released cornerback Ryan Lewis earlier in the day, do have two open roster spots. One is expected to go to Jalen Mills, and the other would likely be a linebacker.

Former CFL star Alex Singleton, who had such a strong training camp, is on the practice squad and would be an obvious choice to replace Brown on the active roster.

With Nigel Bradham dealing with an ankle injury he suffered Sunday in Minnesota, the only healthy linebackers currently on the roster are Kamu Grugier-Hill, Nate Gerry, undrafted rookie T.J. Edwards and recent acquisition Duke Riley. Edwards has played only 12 defensive snaps this year — 10 of them in garbage time Sunday — and Riley hasn't played any.

Brown, who turns 30 next week, is in his eighth season. He was originally a second-round pick of the Titans in 2012 and spent four years with Tennessee, one Pro Bowl season with the Bills and two years with the Redskins before joining the Eagles.

The only news Brown made during his stay in Philadelphia was when he ripped Cousins, his former teammate with the Redskins.

After Cousins and the Vikings embarrassed the Eagles on Sunday, Brown declined to talk about it or apologize for his remarks.

The Vikings' Twitter account didn't hesitate to mock Brown after the game, although it did slightly misquote him.

Not the legacy anybody expected when the Eagles signed Brown.

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Eagles make move that seems to indicate a Jalen Mills return

Eagles make move that seems to indicate a Jalen Mills return

The Eagles on Monday afternoon made a move that seems to be a good sign Jalen Mills will return this week. 

A few hours after Doug Pederson said he expects Mills to practice this week, the Eagles waived cornerback Ryan Lewis, possibly to create a roster spot for Mills. 

Mills, 25, is still on the Physically Unable to Perform list with a foot injury that has kept him out nearly a year, but should practice this week and could be ready to assume a role on defense this Sunday night in Dallas. 

“We’re going to incorporate Jalen Mills a little bit this week in practice, we’ll see where he’s at at the end of the week and if he’s capable maybe there’s an opportunity there (for him to play),” Pederson said.

If Mills returns to practice this week, the Eagles will have three weeks to either add him to the active roster or place him on Injured Reserve. It looks like he’s clearly coming back to the Eagles’ roster and it seems like it will happen sooner rather than later. 

But even if Mills plays this Sunday, don’t expect him to have a huge role. He hasn’t played in a game since Oct. 28 last year in London. The Eagles will need to bring him back slowly. 

In addition to Mills, Ronald Darby (hamstring) is also expected to practice this week. While Mills and Darby aren’t saviors, they should at least help a secondary that was completely gashed by Kirk Cousins in Minnesota this past weekend. 

Lewis, 25, was signed to the Eagles’ practice squad on Oct. 1 and was called up on Oct. 4. He played 43 special teams snaps during his two weeks on the Eagles’ active roster. The Eagles’ practice squad is full at 10, but if Lewis clears waivers, he’s a candidate to return in that capacity.

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