How will NFL's new national anthem policy affect Eagles?

How will NFL's new national anthem policy affect Eagles?

The NFL has adopted a new policy it hopes will eliminate on-field protests during the national anthem. 

Sparked by Colin Kaepernick and then various other players in the NFL, demonstrations during the anthem had popped up in many cities over the last couple of NFL seasons. It also included the Eagles as Malcolm Jenkins led the charge of demonstrating against social injustice in an attempt to further discussion about racism in the United States. 

At one point before last season, Jenkins questioned whether or not he would continue his protest, not because he didn’t believe in his cause, but because he was concerned the focus was being placed on the demonstration rather than the reason for it. 

This policy attempts to eliminate demonstrations, seemingly without addressing the impetus for them. 

“It was unfortunate that on-field protests created a false perception among many that thousands of NFL players were patriotic,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement released by the league. “This is not and was never the case. 

“This season, all league and team personnel shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem. Personnel who choose to not stand for the Anthem may stay in the locker room until after the Anthem has been performed.” 

Here are the specifics of the policy: 

1. All team and league personnel on the field shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.

2. The Game Operations Manual will be revised to remove the requirement that all players be on the field for the Anthem.

3. Personnel who choose not to stand for the Anthem may stay in the locker room or in a similar location off the field until after the Anthem has been performed.

4. A club will be fined by the League if its personnel are on the field and do not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.

5. Each club may develop its own work rules, consistent with the above principles, regarding its personnel who do not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.

6. The Commissioner will impose appropriate discipline on league personnel who do not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.

So what does this mean for the Eagles? 

Well, the Eagles have traditionally been one of the most socially aware teams in the NFL, with players like Jenkins and Chris Long at the forefront (see reactions to policy). Jenkins is the leader of the Players Coalition. 

During last season, Jenkins discontinued his anthem demonstration of raising his fist after he became encouraged by the NFL’s efforts regarding social injustice. The league pledged $100 million to causes aimed at combatting social injustices. 

This offseason, however, the Eagles traded for Michael Bennett, who sat through the anthem last season as a protest. Bennett has previously said he plans on continuing his protest, which would put the Eagles in an interesting position. 

Based on the new policy, the NFL will not fine individual players, but will fine the team of players who don’t show “respect.” It will then be up to the club to determine the punishment to hand down to that player, if any. Jeff Lurie is considered one of the more socially-forward thinking owners in the league, but this is tricky. The policy was said to be passed unanimously among those who voted -- including Lurie -- but 49ers owner Jed York abstained. 

The Eagles did not immediately have a comment on the NFL’s new policy. Lurie released a statement later Wednesday night (see story).

In the statement from the league, the NFL says the policy was created “in concert” with a commitment to local communities and that the league is dedicated to “continuing our collaboration with players to advance the goals of justice and fairness in all corners of our society.” 

But an NFLPA spokesman said their group was not involved in these discussions. 

Eagles are raffling off a real deal Super Bowl ring for charity


Eagles are raffling off a real deal Super Bowl ring for charity

Jeff Lurie has turned into Willy Wonka for a good cause. 

The Eagles on Wednesday announced that they’re going to raffle off a Super Bowl ring and all the proceeds will go to the Eagles Autism Challenge, Inc. 

This is pretty cool. 

Click here to donate and enter.  

The coolest part is that the ring the Eagles will give away on Dec. 3 before Monday Night Football against Washington at the Linc, is the real deal ring. The one the players got, with all 219 diamonds and 17 green sapphires. And it'll be personalized. 

The contest is underway and runs through Sept. 30 at 11:59 p.m. Fans can enter the contest by making a donation to the Eagles Autism Challenge, starting at $10 for 100 entries. The fan who wins will also get 50-yard line seats to that Dec. 3 game. 

There are also other incentives for fans who submit 2,500 entries or more. 

The Eagles have already done incredible work through their autism challenge, raising over $2.5 million at the inaugural event in May. This is a pretty cool way to raise even more money for a good cause.

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On his 35th birthday, a look at possible Darren Sproles milestones

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On his 35th birthday, a look at possible Darren Sproles milestones

Generally speaking, running backs either begin to decline or hit a wall around the time they turn 30. 

That hasn’t happened to Darren Sproles. 

In fact, today is Sproles’ birthday. He turns 35 and after rehabbing his way back from a torn ACL and a broken forearm, he still hasn’t shown signs of slowing down. That, in itself, is pretty incredible. 

Since it’s Sproles’ birthday, it seems like a good time to look into the elite company he can join this year as a productive 35-plus-year-old in the NFL. 

Sproles will enter the 2018 season with 19,155 all-purpose yards. He’s already eighth in NFL history and has a chance to surpass quite a few names on this list with a productive season. There are just seven players in front of him and five of them are already Hall of Famers: 

Jerry Rice: 23,546
Brian Mitchell: 23,330
Walter Payton: 21,803
Emmit Smith: 21,564
Tim Brown: 19,682
Marshall Faulk: 19,190
Steve Smith Jr.: 19,180

It’s impossible to know just how productive Sproles will be in 2018, especially as he’s coming off a significant knee injury. Last year, he had only two healthy games and he had just 88 all-purpose yards in them, putting him on pace for 704. That would have been significantly lower than his three previous seasons with the Eagles. 

In those three previous seasons, we saw a very slight decline from 1,237 in 2014 to 1,171 in 2015 to 1,108 in 2016. 

But if Sproles can return to form and is able to eclipse 1,000 all-purpose yards in 2018, he’d become just the eighth running back in NFL history to do it at age 35 or older. A search of Pro Football Reference shows the top mark ever for a running back over 35 (must be 35 or older on Dec. 31 of that year) was Herschel Walker’s season in 1997 (1,336). 

If Sproles eclipses that 1,000-yard mark, he’d also become just the second Eagles player (any position) to do it at 35 or older. The only other Eagle to do it was Irving Fryar, who had 1,316 back in 1997 too. 

He’d also move past Smith, Faulk and Brown into fifth all-time in all-purpose yards, becoming just the fifth player in NFL history to surpass the 20,000-yard mark. 

Even in 2016, when he had a down year as a punt returner, Sproles still had 224 punt return yards. If he surpasses the 200-yard mark this season, he’d be just the third player in NFL history to do it at 35 or older. The other three are Michael Lewis (336 in 2007), Leo Lewis (225 in 1991) and Mel Gray (205 in 1996). 

And this year, with the new kickoff rules, there’s a chance the Eagles might use him as a kick returner too. More chances to pile up yards. 

The man himself doesn’t care too much about individual achievements; he’d rather win another Super Bowl. But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy tracking his progress. 

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