How Eric Rowe moved on from Eagles

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How Eric Rowe moved on from Eagles

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — Patriots cornerback Eric Rowe was walking around the floor of Xcel Energy Center with a credential hanging around his neck that read, "Nelson Rowe." 

What's up with that?

"That's my first name," he said, looking down at it. "Eric's my middle name. I just always go by Eric."

Oh. That was news to a few reporters from Philly who happened to gather around him on Monday night. They didn't really have that long to get to know him after all. Rowe was drafted by the Eagles in the second round in 2015, but was traded to the Patriots in September of 2016.

Rowe remembers being shocked at the time of the trade, but it wasn't that surprising for some folks. He had already fallen behind seventh-round pick Jalen Mills and the coaching staff that drafted him was long gone.

It took a while for Rowe to get over the initial shock of getting traded. He didn't get over it until he actually got on the field and started playing. From there, he needed to learn a new defense and a new environment.

Here he is a couple seasons later about to face his former team in Super Bowl LII. He said he doesn't find it too weird. 

"It's interesting though," Rowe said. "I don't know the odds, you get traded from a team and you get to play them in obviously the highest level there is. That's the interesting part. Besides that, shoot, my mindset is it's just like another team. Obviously, it's a great team that you have to get ready for."

Rowe is still close to several of his teammates from Philly. He still talks to Jaylen Watkins, Jordan Hicks and occasionally Rodney McLeod. And he still uses some of the lessons about being a pro he learned from Malcolm Jenkins. 

On Monday, Rowe remembered a long text message he received from Jenkins after the trade. Jenkins told the then-second-year player to keep his head up, to outlast the bad moments because he was going to be a good player. 

It worked out OK for him. In his first season in New England, Rowe got a Super Bowl ring. He's going for No. 2 in a few days. 

How does he look back on his time in Philly? 

"I don't know. Just like a team I was on now," he said. "It's the business of the league. At the time, I was shocked but guys get traded every season. It's obviously nothing new but you have to just move on and keep playing."

It is fitting that Rowe's real name is Nelson, because he's going to line up against a Nelson on Sunday. As the Patriots' nickel corner, Rowe will have to slow down Nelson Agholor, who has had a great season. Agholor was drafted in the first round of the 2015 draft, the round before the Eagles took Rowe. The two faced each other plenty in practice. 

Because the Patriots have two very good starting corners, Rowe has become their nickel guy despite a body frame that seems better suited outside. Still, he thinks the switch has helped him become a better player. 

"Eric's done a good job for us," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. "He's a versatile player who, as you know, played safety in college, played some safety for us. He plays inside. He can do a lot of different things. Smart kid that's long, has good skills, he does a good job of tackling, he does a good job of covering. Again, depending on how our game plan is set up, his role can change from week to week as it does with other players. He's very adaptable to those changes." 

Rowe wasn't in Philly for that long, but he got to know the fan base while he was in town. He knows what a Super Bowl win would mean for Philadelphia, but instead of helping the city get there, he's going to try to stop it. 

"I saw the videos. They were going nuts," Rowe said. "Riots on the streets after the NFC Championship Game. I know how the fan base is, really passionate. I know a Super Bowl to their city, they'd probably tear the city down."

Eagles QB Nick Foles reportedly OK after leaving game with shoulder injury

Eagles QB Nick Foles reportedly OK after leaving game with shoulder injury

Eagles quarterback Nick Foles will be OK after leaving Thursday’s preseason loss to the Patriots, according to a report Friday.

“After tests,” the Super Bowl LII MVP is not expected to be out long, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Foles, who left the game early in the second quarter after a strip sack, didn’t have a great outing: 3 of 9 for 44 yards. But more important than anything, he appears to be healthy after a scare.

After the game, Foles said he was “optimistic” about the injury.

“It’s just the shoulder,” Foles said. “It sort of got jarred in a funny way as I was following through. It feels good. We’ll check it out tomorrow more thoroughly.”

Foles didn’t return to the game, but he also never left the sideline, receiving treatment on what the team called a shoulder strain.

With the opener still weeks away, Foles didn’t want to speculate on his status for Week 1, but didn’t sound like a guy that planned to miss much time.

“I’m not even going to go there,” Foles said. “We’re just going to live in the moment and sort of go day to day. I’m going to do everything I can to get back on the field and hopefully practice the first day we get back practicing and be ready to roll.”

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Former Eagles first-round bust Marcus Smith released by Seahawks

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Former Eagles first-round bust Marcus Smith released by Seahawks

Marcus Smith, the Eagles’ first-round pick in 2014, was released by the Seahawks Friday, the second straight summer he’s been cut.

With just 6½ sacks in 51 career games over four seasons, Smith is among the biggest first-round busts in recent NFL history.

The Eagles released Smith last July 26, and he signed with the Seahawks two days later. He played in 14 games for Seattle a year ago, tying his career high with 2½ sacks.

Smith had missed practice the last two days with what coach Pete Carroll said was a personal issue.

In three years with the Eagles, the 26th pick in the 2014 draft recorded four sacks.

Some 174 players have recorded more sacks than Smith since opening day of 2014.

Smith is part of a remarkable trio of first-round defensive end busts the Eagles have drafted in the last couple decades.

Jon Harris, the 25th pick in 1997, had two career sacks. Jerome McDougle, the 15th pick in 2003, had three career sacks. And Smith has 6½.

Among defensive ends drafted in the first round during the 18-year span from 1997 through 2014, Harris, McDougle and Smith have the fourth, sixth and 16th-fewest sacks.

Smith, now 26, was due an $800,000 base salary this year if he made the Seahawks’ roster. They’re on the hook for a $400,000 signing bonus they gave him in March and will now have to carry that in dead money.

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