Eagles

Healed from knee injury, Corey Clement looks like himself again

Healed from knee injury, Corey Clement looks like himself again

Corey Clement looks like himself again. If you didn’t know the third-year running back tore up his knee last December, watching practice on Monday against the Ravens, you certainly wouldn’t have been able to tell. 

Getting first-team reps for the first time this summer, the 23-year-old running back looked strong, explosive, smooth. Clement looked way less like a guy coming off knee rehab and way more like the guy who carved out a relatively significant offensive role as a rookie in 2017. 

He’s not even wearing that bulky brace anymore. 

“I’m out here naked,” said a smiling Clement, looking down at his bare right knee. “I’m fine.”

And he’s pretty happy to be done with that brace. 

I hate it,” he said with a laugh. “It feels like I got a little guy on my leg. 

“Realizing that if my mobility is fine without it, it’s the mental part I gotta get over. I’m like, ‘I don’t need the brace, I don’t need the brace, I don’t need the brace.’ I have had good practice reps without it and that boosts my morale without it to show I can do it.

While Clement is starting to look like himself to the rest of us, he started to feel like himself during the first week of training camp. That’s when he took a rep and somebody bumped into him and his rehabilitated knee. It’s a physical game, Clement said, so it was nice to get that out of the way. In fact, he wanted it to happen to see how he’d react. It was fine. 

Now, Clement claims there’s nothing to worry about. 

On Monday, Eagles offensive coordinator Mike Groh was asked if Clement is where he needs to be coming off the injury: 

Well, he's cleared, but he hasn't played a whole lot. I wouldn't say he's where he needs to be because he just needs to get more time out here. We're trying to accelerate that process here with two weeks to go. Trying to catch him up, if that's fair to say. Physically, he feels really good, and we just want to work him back in as quickly as possible.

The Eagles have brought Clement back in steps, ramping up his workload as the summer has progressed. First individual drills, then 7-on-7s, then 11-on-11s. On Monday, he took 11-on-11 reps with the first team against a foreign defense. 

And he’s looked good in all of it. 

This week, Clement said, they actually prepared for the Ravens a bit; they are trying to treat this a little bit like a normal game week. And this is a Ravens team that boasted one of the best overall defenses in the league last season, so it’s a good test. Clement passed the test on Day 1. 

Clement would like to play in Thursday’s third preseason game, but he isn’t sure if he’ll be given the go-ahead. He probably won’t know until Wednesday. 

“I want to play. I want to play football,” Clement said. “Just like B.G. (Brandon Graham) likes playing in preseason, I like playing in preseason. I don’t want to shy away from football. Football’s fun.”

It’s even more fun when you’re back to being yourself.

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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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