First-timers headline Eagles named to Pro Bowl

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First-timers headline Eagles named to Pro Bowl

In the middle of the NovaCare Complex, there's a hallway the Eagles walk through every day to get from the team auditorium to the locker room. 

On one side of the long hallway are photos of every Eagle to ever make a Pro Bowl, with the years listed next to them. 

There are going to be some new faces in that hallway pretty soon. 

Because of the six Eagles to be named to Pro Bowl rosters this season, four are first-timers. It should come as no surprise the Eagles, sitting at 12-2, will be pretty well-represented in the annual all-star game. Only the Steelers (eight) have more Pro Bowlers. 

Carson Wentz (more on him here), Zach Ertz, Lane Johnson and Brandon Brooks are first-year Pro Bowlers, while Fletcher Cox and Malcolm Jenkins are veterans, heading back to the game. 

This is the first time since 2004 — Ike Reese, Brian Westbrook, Michael Lewis and Lito Sheppard — the Eagles have four first-time Pro Bowlers. 

• Can we finally call this a breakout season from Ertz? The 27-year-old has 63 catches for 719 yards and a career-high eight touchdown catches in just 12 games this season. Even after missing two games with injury, Ertz has doubled his previous career high in touchdowns and was clearly one of Wentz's favorite targets. While fan voting is just 1/3 of the entire procedure, Ertz finished with 486,011 fan votes, more than any other NFC tight end. 

“It's rewarding," Ertz said in a statement released by the team. "I think any person wants to see the 'hard work' pay off, but at the end of the day I've had catches and yards and touchdowns before but I've never had a team like this. The ultimate goal is to win football games in this league. If you don't win, nothing really matters. That's what's been so rewarding this year. I've been a really big contributor on a really good football team. I think that whole process has been really fulfilling.”

• This season, Johnson has been on a mission to prove himself after serving a 10-game suspension for a second PED violation last year. What he's proven is he's one of the best offensive tackles in the NFL. It's a little rare for right tackles to get this type of recognition, but Johnson, 27, certainly deserves it. Playing on the right side has made him go against some of the top pass-rushers in the NFL, like Von Miller, Ryan Kerrigan and Demarcus Lawrence. Johnson hasn't been shy about his ambition to be named to the Pro Bowl this season. With his selection, Johnson hit a $250,000 escalator in his contract. 

“It’s been one of my goals to be called one of the best in the world at what you do, so it’s pretty special,” Johnson said. 

• Brooks, 28, came to the Eagles as a free agent last season and has really proven his worth in 2017. He's been an absolute rock for the Eagles at right guard. After missing two games in 2016 with what ended up being anxiety issues, Brooks has very publicly talked about his problem in an attempt to de-stigmatize them. On the field, he's been tremendous. The most impressive thing about him might be his athleticism as the biggest player on the roster. With his selection, Brooks hit a $250,000 escalator in his contract. 

“I was excited but I come from a unit where we all are straight brothers," Brooks said. "So it’s not like an individual accolade. It’s (offensive line coach Jeff) Stoutland coaching me up, getting me right, refining my technique and things like that. Playing alongside Lane Johnson and Jason Kelce helps tremendously and Carson playing well and making plays. So although it’s kind of an individual honor, I wouldn’t be able to do it without playing in between these two guys and guys making plays in the backfield, too.”

• While he doesn't pile up a ton of stats at his defensive tackle position, go ask a bunch of offensive guards about Cox. They'll all say the same thing. He's still an absolute beast. Now, is he worth $100 million? Maybe. Maybe not. Either way, Cox is a huge part of the Eagles' defense and an absolute game-wrecker inside. The 27-year-old has 5½ sacks and is heading back to his third consecutive Pro Bowl. 

• It's hard to quantify just how important Jenkins is to the Eagles' defense. He barely ever leaves the field on defense and even contributes on special teams. He plays safety, nickel corner and even plays linebacker at times. He's one of the most respected veterans on the team. This is his second Pro Bowl after making it through after being an alternate in 2015. This year, Jenkins has two interceptions and eight passes defensed. With his selection, Jenkins hit a $100,000 escalator in his contract. 

While six Eagles made the Pro Bowl, there were a couple pretty obvious snubs. Defensive end Brandon Graham and center Jason Kelce were certainly deserving. Special teamer Kamu Grugier-Hill also had a pretty strong case. 

Graham, who leads the team with 9½ sacks, deserved to make his first Pro Bowl roster. Aside from those 9½ sacks, he's been the Eagles' most disruptive defensive lineman and has been a force every week. 

Kelce has been playing at a higher level than he did in 2016, when he went to his second career Pro Bowl. He was one of the players offensive coordinator Frank Reich praised when asked about Pro Bowl-worthy players. 

And Grugier-Hill seemed to have a real shot at making the Pro Bowl as a special teams ace. He leads the Eagles in special teams snaps and has made some really big plays this season. 

This year's Pro Bowl will take place on Jan. 28 in Orlando, Florida. The Eagles hope none of their Pro Bowlers will be available for the game. They hope to be preparing for the Super Bowl that weekend. 

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

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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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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