Eagles

Giants ban local 1st-rounder for season finale

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Giants ban local 1st-rounder for season finale

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A day after Pro Bowl safety Landon Collins referred to him as a cancer, cornerback Eli Apple was suspended Wednesday by the New York Giants for the season finale against the Washington Redskins.

The Giants announced the suspension hours after Apple had participated in the practice. Interim general manager Kevin Abrams and interim coach Steve Spagnuolo informed him of the suspension.

"We have suspended Eli for a pattern of behavior that is conduct detrimental to the team," Abrams said.

Collins never referred to Apple, the Giants' first-round draft pick in 2016, by name in a radio interview on Tuesday. However, he said only one cornerback on the team needed to grow up and later added, "But that first pick ... he's a cancer."

Collins apologized for the comments on Wednesday. He and Apple met separately with Spagnuolo and then all three talked.

Collins was not in the locker room after practice. Apple declined to speak with the media (see full story).

Chiefs: Rookie Mahomes to start regular-season finale
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Patrick Mahomes II snapped a 34-year streak in which the Chiefs eschewed drafting a quarterback in the first round when they traded up to pick him 10th overall earlier this year.

Now, he's set to snap an even longer streak.

Mahomes will make his regular-season debut for the Chiefs when they visit the Denver Broncos on Sunday in an otherwise meaningless game. It will be the first time since Steve Fuller in 1979 that Kansas City has started a rookie quarterback in a non-strike year.

"I'm ready to go," said Mahomes, who won the backup job to Alex Smith in training camp but hasn't seen the field since the preseason. "I'm ready to go out there and try the best I can to win a game."

The Chiefs (9-6) don't need to win it, though. They clinched back-to-back AFC West titles for the first time in franchise history with their victory last week over Miami. And with no way to improve their playoff positioning, it makes sense for coach Andy Reid to give Smith and a few others the week off.

Still, the decision adds some intrigue to a game that had precious little of it (see full story).

Vikings: Bradford could return to practice next week
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford could return to practice next week as he recovers from a knee injury from Week 1.

Bradford has been out since a brief return in Week 5 against Chicago, which Minnesota plays Sunday in the regular-season finale. Bradford was taken out at halftime and was placed on injured reserve on Nov. 8.

Coach Mike Zimmer said Bradford could return to practice next week when he's first eligible.

"He says he feels good," Zimmer said. "He's been working out and doing things. Getting on the field, he's throwing the ball and doing workouts."

Bradford was the NFC offensive player of the week after setting a career-high 143.0 passer rating in the opener with 346 yards passing and three touchdowns.

Bradford took a hit in the game which caused soreness in his surgically repaired knee. His only other game action this season was in the first half at Chicago when he went 5 of 11 for 36 yards passing and was sacked four times, his mobility limited by the injury (see full story).

Browns: Jackson stands by vow to jump in Lake Erie
CLEVELAND -- His team already sunk, Browns coach Hue Jackson is taking the plunge.

Jackson said Wednesday he'll make good on his promise to jump in Lake Erie because of his team's horrible record. After the Browns went 1-15 last year, Jackson vowed that if Cleveland was ever that bad again he would swim in the lake. Well, the Browns are 0-15 heading into Sunday's finale at Pittsburgh. A loss would make the Browns just the second team to lose all 16 games.

Jackson said he's not happy about having to make the swim, but "I have to make do on my word. I made a statement, I gotta back it up."

Jackson wants to turn his dip into a positive and raise money for his foundation, which raised awareness and fights human trafficking.

Reminded that the lake is frozen this time of year, Jackson said he'll make the swim at his convenience.

Nick Foles delivers powerful speech after winning Best Championship Performance award at ESPYS

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Nick Foles delivers powerful speech after winning Best Championship Performance award at ESPYS

A year ago at this time, Nick Foles was preparing for a season on the bench as he just tried to stick around the NFL after falling back in love with the game.

He has a little higher profile now.

While Foles is preparing to possibly head back to the bench in favor of Carson Wentz, he is now the reigning Super Bowl MVP and added another trophy to his case on Wednesday night, when he was given the Best Championship Performance award at the ESPYS.

During his acceptance speech, Foles thanked a bunch of folks, used the word “y’all” more than enough times to remind everyone he’s from Texas and spoke candidly about the incredibly unique path his career has taken.

Here is Foles accepting the award from comedian (and Jim Schwartz’s former college teammate … seriously) Jim Gaffigan.

No, an ESPY is no Super Bowl MVP, but it’s a pretty nice honor and Foles is certainly deserving after leading the Eagles to their first-ever Super Bowl. Just a reminder, Foles completed 65 percent of his passes for 373 yards and three touchdowns in Super Bowl LII.

Here’s his full speech from Wednesday night at the ESPYS:

I’m honored to be in front of all y’all. I never planned a speech. I quite frankly never expected to win this award or to even be in this moment. I just want to thank the good Lord for giving me the ability to play the game I love. You know, thank my wife Tori, she’s gone through her own battles the last five years. You’ve always been an inspiration. A lot of my family is here, so thank y’all for always supporting me.

It’s been a crazy career. If any of y’all know my career path, it doesn’t make sense. But you know, I’m here right now. My teammates, coaches, you know what, we faced so much adversity this year, we have an amazing team. It’s so much fun to go to work in that locker room every single day. I couldn’t have done it without y’all. We see what happened. We won the first Super Bowl in Philadelphia history, so we’ve got a special group of guys.

And then to the Philadelphia fans. Y’all get a (bad) rap everywhere, but the passion, y’all bring it every single day. So thank y’all. And finally, there’s a lot of kids watching this and it’s kind of been the theme. There are going to be people who doubt you. Don’t listen to them. What matters is what’s in here (taps on chest) and the people who love you and support you. Go out there every day and be bold. Thank you.

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Roob's 10 observations: Brian Dawkins' Hall of Fame, Nate Gerry & Zach Ertz vs. Jason Witten

Roob's 10 observations: Brian Dawkins' Hall of Fame, Nate Gerry & Zach Ertz vs. Jason Witten

Carson Wentz's remarkable consistency, expectations of Nate Gerry, questions at wideout, a Zach Ertz stat you absolutely won't believe and the rarity of Eagles Hall of Fame teammates.

Roob's 10 random Eagles observations don't get much more random than this!

1. Can we take a moment to talk about how insanely consistent Wentz was before he got hurt? Wentz’s lowest passer rating last year was an 83.0 in the loss to the Chiefs. He threw for 333 yards with two TDs and one INT and that was his worst game of the year. Wentz is one of just four quarterbacks in NFL history to open a season with a rating of 83 or higher in every game through the first 13 games of a season. Which of course is when his season ended. Including the last week of 2016, Wentz goes into 2018 on a streak of 14 straight games with a rating of 83 or higher. That’s seventh longest in NFL history, and the longest active streak. Wentz’s 21 career games with a passer rating of 83 or higher are tied for third most in NFL history by any QB after two seasons, behind only Dan Marino (23) and Russell Wilson (23). And he missed the last three games of the season. What a talent.

2. I’m curious to see Gerry this summer. With Mychal Kendricks off to the Browns and Paul Worrilow out for the season, there are roster spots to be won and playing time to be earned behind Nigel Bradham (out for the opener) and injury-plagued Jordan Hicks. After starting his rookie season on the practice squad, Gerry got an October promotion onto the 53 and got into 10 games and all three playoff games, almost all of it on special teams. He looked bigger and stronger in spring practices as he continues to transition from safety to linebacker. With a good summer, he can definitely find himself in the mix.

3. Ertz had nine third-down catches for first down in the 2017 playoffs. Jason Witten had eight playoff third-down catches for first down in his 15-year career.

4. And Ertz’s nine third-down catches in last year's postseason are the most by any tight end in a single postseason — and second most by any player — in the last 30 years.

5. The Eagles converted 61 percent of their third downs during the 2017 postseason, which is insane. That’s the fourth highest in NFL history by any team in a single postseason (among teams playing at least two playoff games). The Broncos converted 75 percent in 1997, the Rams 63 percent in 2004 and the Colts 62 percent in 1995.  

6. You thought Vaughn Hebron was fast? His daughter, Sanaa, won the AAU national title for the 400-meter dash this weekend in 55.31. That would have placed her fourth in the Big East championships this year. She’s 13 years old. Vaughn’s sons, competing in the 17-18 age group, are no slouches, either. Savion ran 10.78 and 21.68 for the 100 and 200, and Savaughn ran a 2:00 split on the Trenton Track club’s 3,200-meter relay team. So Vaughn right now is at best the fourth-fastest person in his own family. But he does have a couple Super Bowl rings.

7. So many questions at wide receiver behind Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor. Will Mike Wallace slow down at 32? Can Mack Hollins make a big jump in Year 2? Will Shelton Gibson show enough in camp to work his way into the roster mix? Can Markus Wheaton regain the form that made him so dangerous with the Steelers in 2014 and 2015? Can speedy Bryce Treggs make any sort of impact in his third year? Potentially, an exceptional group.

8. Nick Foles is the third-youngest active quarterback in the NFL with at least three career playoff wins. Foles turns exactly 29 years, six months on Thursday. Cam Newton (29, 68 days) and Andrew Luck (who turns 29 in September) also have three postseason wins.

9. Interesting that during 2004 and part of 2005 the Eagles had two future Hall of Famers, Brian Dawkins and Terrell Owens. What was the last Eagles team before 2004 with two Hall of Famers? It was actually 1997, when Dawkins and Richard Dent were briefly teammates. Before that, it was 1987 through 1989, with Reggie White and Cris Carter. Before that, you have to go back to 1968, with Bob Brown and Mike Ditka. So the 14 games that Dawkins and Dent played together during an otherwise forgotten 1997 season are the only Eagles games in the last 50 years where two future Hall of Famers played alongside each other on the same side of the ball.

10. Dawkins didn’t make a Pro Bowl until his fourth season and didn’t make All-Pro until his sixth. Keep that in mind when you’re deciding that “so-and-so can't play” two weeks into his rookie training camp.

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