Harold Carmichael finally named Hall of Fame finalist

Harold Carmichael finally named Hall of Fame finalist

Harold Carmichael, snubbed by the Pro Football Hall of Fame for decades, was named a finalist as part of the Hall’s special centennial induction process.

The Hall is celebrating the NFL’s 100th anniversary by adding 15 additional Hall of Famers next year comprised of 10 seniors, three two-playing contributors and two coaches. That's in addition to five modern-era players.

Carmichael is one of 20 senior players to be named a finalist. The senior players had to have last played at least 25 years ago.

Long-time Eagle Al Wistert is also among that group. Dick Vermeil and Bucko Kilroy, who both also have Eagles ties, were also among the nominees.

Carmichael spent the 1971 through 1983 seasons with the Eagles after getting drafted in the 7th round out of Southern University. He was named a wide receiver on the NFL’s 1980s all-decade team and is also on the Eagles' 75th anniversary team named in 2007.

During his 12 seasons with the Eagles, he caught 589 passes for 8,978 yards and 79 touchdowns. He led the NFL in catches and yards in 1973 and made four Pro Bowls.

During the 11-year period from 1973 through 1983, Carmichael led the NFL with 549 catches, 8414 yards and 77 touchdowns. 

Carmichael was also a very productive postseason player. He had 9 catches for 203 yards and three TDs in two playoff games in 1979 and was 13-for-174 with a TD during the 1980 super Bowl run.

In all, he was 29-for-465 with 6 TDs in seven playoff games.

Carmichael finished his career playing two games for the Cowboys in 1984. 

When he retired after the 19845 season, Carmichael ranked 5th in NFL history in receptions, seventh in yards and seventh in TDs.

Every player who had more catches than Carmichael at that point — Charlie Joiner, Charley Taylor, Don Maynard and Raymond Berry — are Hall of Famers.

Carmichael still holds Eagles franchise records for catches, yards and touchdowns. Zach Ertz is second with 521 receptions, Pete Retzlaff is second with 7,412 yards and Tommy McDonald is second with 66 TDs.

This is the first time Carmichael has been a finalist.

Wistert was a four-time first-team all-pro for the Eagles as an offensive lineman from 1943 through 1951 and a member of the first two Eagles NFL Championship teams. He was selected to the NFL's team of the decade for the 1940s.

He coached football at Riverside High School in South Jersey while he was playing for the Eagles. Wistert died in 2016 at 95 years old.

Vermeil coached the Eagles from 1976 through 1982 and led the 1980 team to Super  Bowl XV after the 1980 season. He later won Super Bowl XXXIV in 1999 with the Rams. He had a 120-109 record in 15 years as a head coach with the Eagles, Rams and Chiefs.

Kilroy, a Port Richmond native and graduate of Northeast Catholic and Temple, played for the Eagles from 1943 through 1955 and was a three-time Pro Bowl pick as a guard. He set what was then an NFL record by playing in 147 straight games. 

He later served as an assistant coach with the Eagles and then as a scout with the Cowboys and as the Patriots’ general manager from 1979 through 1982. He died in 2007.

The Hall of Fame inductees will be announced Feb. 1, 2020, the night before Super Bowl LIV in Miami. The 20-person Hall of Fame Class of 2020 will be enshrined on Aug. 8, 2020, in Canton, Ohio. 

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DeSean Jackson says white teammates ‘stepped up’ with public statements

DeSean Jackson says white teammates ‘stepped up’ with public statements

Carson Wentz, Zach Ertz and Jason Kelce are among the group of Eagles who have released statements in the wake of George Floyd’s killing and subsequent protests around the country, using their platform to speak out against institutional racism and racial injustice. 

Speaking to NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark on Tuesday, DeSean Jackson made it clear that he’s proud of his high-profile white teammates. 

They stepped up. They made their voice be heard,” Jackson said. “They used their platform, they used their resources, they used everything they could do to reach out and say I might not know what it feels like to be racially profiled, I might not know what it’s like to grow up in the inner communities and these areas that you guys face on a daily basis, where we’re scrutinized for the color of our skin. 

“They might not understand that, but they are stepping up to the plate and saying fair is fair and right is right and wrong is wrong. The stuff that we’ve been seeing is wrong. They don’t support that.

On Monday, during the Eagles’ virtual team meeting, Jackson gave such an impassioned speech about his own life and tribulations as a black man in the United States, that it motivated Kelce to speak up.

Kelce, one of the longest tenured players on the team, said he felt an obligation to post to social media after hearing Jackson’s message.  

“If I motivate him to step up and use his platform man, I appreciate that,” Jackson said. “At the end of the day, when I spoke, I spoke off of how I feel. I can’t change how my heart feels.” 

On Tuesday afternoon, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie released a statement of his own, saying he’s “repulsed” by racial injustice and vowing to use his platform to effect change. 

Lurie spoke to the entire team on Monday. His words and his statement meant a lot to Jackson. 

“You gotta think, the owners are billionaires. They have so much influence in the world,” Jackson said. “They have so much equity. They have so much power to where if they make a stance, the it’s gonna trickle down to the lower totem pole. I feel like a lot of times they go silent because it’s politics or they might lose this sponsor or they might look crazy in the light. But it’s like, none of that stuff can even come into your mind because we are dealing with people losing their lives. … 

“I feel like Jeffrey Lurie did a great job of speaking out and speaking up. Because I feel like if he does it, then you’re gonna have the rest of the other 31 owners and that’s going to trickle out to basketball owners, baseball owners. It has to be a trigger effect.”

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DeSean Jackson’s impassioned plea based on own experiences

DeSean Jackson’s impassioned plea based on own experiences

DeSean Jackson said he fears for his life every time he gets pulled over by police and said he understands the frustration the black community is experiencing today but also made an impassioned plea for unity and togetherness amid the violence, looting and hate.

In a powerful 30-minute interview with John Clark of NBC Sports Philadelphia, Jackson spoke bluntly about his own experiences with racism and his thoughts about how we as a country can move forward.

(Since I was) growing up as a kid, I can’t tell you anytime that I’m in the car and a police officer stops me or pulls me over how afraid I am that if I move wrong or I make a wrong gesture I might be shot and killed,” Jackson said. “It’s just built up so long of seeing senseless killings so it’s like every time I’m pulled over I’m afraid it might happen to me. And for me, I have three boys that I raised, and I can’t tell you how much I’m afraid for them to grow up in this world that we’re living in now. I have to protect them. I have to teach them on love and doing the right thing, but if you tell me that the people who are supposed to protect and serve us, they’re not serving and protecting us. I’ve seen a disturbing video where a lady was actually pulled over and she wasn’t African-American and the lady was frightened for her life. She was so scared. and the police officer was like, ‘You don’t have to worry about us killing you, we only kill black people.’

Just think being an African American person what that does to your mind. What that triggers. Every time you have an encounter. That’s why I’ve always felt the way I’ve felt that way about police. I can’t stand them. For so long we’ve always been messed with. If I’m driving a nice car and I get pulled over, for what? Excuse me, I’m not supposed to be driving this car? Oh, I look like I can’t afford this car? Why do I have to be profiled? … It’s crazy, man. I just feel bad for my kids they have to be raised in this era, man.

Jackson grew up in the Compton section of Los Angeles and said as bad as things were there, he’s even more scared now.

One hundred percent, man,” he said. “Growing up, police messed with us. Don’t get me wrong, they pulled you out of your car, they searched your car, they did all that stuff. But it’s a different fear I have now. The fear I had in the past was I have a chance of probably going to jail, I have a chance of them searching my car and planting some drugs or planting a gun. But now what I’m seeing is police killing. In the past five years or however many years it’s been, man, it’s hundreds and hundreds of killings. Senseless killings. I’m worried for my kids more than when I was growing up.

Jackson spoke about the high rate of crime and violence in black communities riddled by poverty, poor schools and chronic unemployment and how programs are needed to remedy the root of the problem.

“The opportunity is not there,” he said. “People are stuck in that zone that they’re in because we don’t have the opportunities. We don’t have our parents setting up mutual funds and money and investments for us so when we turn 18 we’re able to go out and start our own thing. We don’t have that. So that’s going to have people sitting in the hood and sitting in the corner store selling drugs and doing stuff and killing people because they have more than I have. It’s crazy. But that’s the issue that we’re dealing with. If we’re able to outreach and put programs in these (places) and develop a curriculum to help these kids out, you might not be able to save the whole world, but you might be able to save 100 lives, you might be able to save 200 lives. As long as you start somewhere. But right now we don’t have that.”

Jackson has always been active in the community, whether he was playing for the Eagles, Redskins or Buccaneers, and he said once he returns from Florida to Philadelphia he plans to be continue working to bring people together as much as possible.

“Don’t tear down the community,” he said. “Don’t destruct what we’ve built up so long to get to where we’re at now. Let’s figure out ways to come together, man. I just want to let everyone know I’m feeling the pain. I’m in pain. And were going to get through this. It might take time, but we’re going to get through it. Let’s do it together as one and everybody love. One love, one community, one race. We’re going to stick together for the better.”

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