Eagles

Kamu Grugier-Hill admits to lying about concussion to stay in game

Kamu Grugier-Hill admits to lying about concussion to stay in game

Eagles linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill on Thursday admitted that when he suffered his concussion in Miami two weeks ago, he lied to medical personnel to stay in the game.

He told them he hurt his shoulder.

“I just basically lied to them,” Grugier-Hill said. “I thought it would just go away. Just didn’t really say anything about it. It got to the point where I really couldn’t lie to them anymore.”

The concussion happened on the first play from scrimmage in the game against the Dolphins, when the starting linebacker collided with receiver DeVante Parker. That means he played a total of 54 combined defensive and special teams snaps with a concussion that game.

Eventually, when the headaches didn’t subside, Grugier-Hill reported the concussion symptoms to trainers on Thursday, four days after the head shot. He was put in the NFL’s concussion protocol and missed the Giants game. He has since been cleared and will return to action in Washington this weekend.

Grugier-Hill, 25, said he had never had a concussion before and didn’t know exactly what it felt like. Last week, head coach Doug Pederson said the Eagles encourage all their players to report concussion symptoms and self police.

Does Grugier-Hil regret his decision?

“No,” he said. “I mean, I wish we would have at least got a win.”

There’s no questioning Grugier-Hill’s loyalty but lying to medical staff about a brain injury is nothing to be praised; it’s dangerous. But at least Grugier-Hill was honest about his decision — plenty of players aren’t.

And this certainly wasn’t the first time — nor will it be the last — that a player decides to stay in a game even though they know they might be concussed.

Back in 2015, Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins admitted he played through more than an entire half against the Cowboys with a concussion. After eventually getting through the protocol, Jenkins said he felt “foggy” for the entire second half.

That’s the hole in the NFL’s concussion policy. The league has concussion spotters in the press box at every game and has made strides to prevent and detect these head injuries earlier, but players are still willing to put their long-term health on the line to stay in games. And Eagles medical personnel can’t treat a concussion they don’t know exists. It’s a hard problem to fix.

As far as the league has come, concussions are still far too normalized in the sport.

“I think it’s just part of the game,” Grugier-Hill said. “You get rocked a little bit every once in a while.”

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Eagles draft pick Casey Toohill didn’t let a pandemic slow him down

Eagles draft pick Casey Toohill didn’t let a pandemic slow him down

As far as built-in excuses go, this would have been a pretty good one. 

After all, it’s not Casey Toohill’s fault there’s a global pandemic. It’s not his fault gyms were closed and OTAs were canceled. And it’s not even his fault that he’s an undersized 7th-round pick entering a season where all rookies are at an extreme disadvantage. He won’t even have preseason games. 

But you can save the excuses. Toohill did. He refused to let the COVID-19 pandemic stand in his way. 

I knew I needed to gain weight, so that’s what I did,” Toohilll said last week. “I bought a squat rack, I borrowed weights. Eventually, I was able to find a place to work out with maybe a little bit more equipment. But from the first day on, I came home to San Diego, where I’m from, and I knew that was going to happen. I had that foresight, I purchased that equipment and then I hit it hard.

Toohill, 23, is listed at 250 pounds but he is already up to 255. He’s not done yet, but he’s off to a good start. 

This is an offseason where we got to learn a lot about the desire of football players at various levels. The self-motivators found a way. Even in inopportune situations, those guys were able to lift and workout and train and prepare for camp. Then there are guys who might not be self-motivated. 

There’s no question what category Toohill falls into. 

“A lot of guys need that structure and organization,” Stanford director of defense Lance Anderson said to NBC Sports Philadelphia last week. “If anyone can do it on their own, it would be a guy like Casey. He’s going to take the initiative to get in and do what he needs to.”

A self-starter 

Anderson said it didn’t surprise him — “not a bit” — to hear that Toohill put in extra work this offseason despite the conditions. And he thinks if anyone can overcome seemingly insurmountable odds to make an NFL roster under these conditions, it’s Toohill.  

Anderson saw those qualities from Toohill even as they were recruiting him as a high school player. But he really saw those qualities up close and personal during 2015, Toohill’s redshirt freshman season. 

Stanford’s strength and conditioning coach had been watching Toohill work out with two players a year ahead of him that the coaching staff had high hopes for — and Toohill was outworking both of them. 

“This is a guy that you need to keep an eye on,” Anderson remembers the coach telling him. “Don’t worry about those other two. Keep your eye on this guy just because of what he’s shown already.”

Gaining weight  

Toohill is now at 255 pounds and he doesn’t have a definite target in mind. His main goal is to increase his weight slowly without losing the athleticism that caught the eyes of NFL scouts and coaches. 

“I’ve gained weight and I want to continue to,” he said. “But I think it would be a mistake to rush to gain a lot of weight and then maybe feel like I’m slow or not as explosive.”

At 6-foot-5, now 255 pounds, Toohill is still undersized for an NFL defensive end, but that’s where the Eagles want to play him. He’s actually already heavier than the listed weights of Josh Sweat and Shareef Miller. 

If Toohill can improve his strength, he has a ton of other attributes to work with. Check out his athleticism numbers compared to other edge players: 

“Casey, naturally, he is an athletic kid,” Anderson said. “He can run, he can jump, he’s explosive. It’s just finding that right balance of gaining that weight and getting bigger, stronger but doing it the right way and doing it slow enough where it’s not bad weight and you start to lose that speed that makes you a good football player. That’s why you were drafted; that’s why you have an opportunity in the NFL. 

“It’s just that balance of doing it the right way. But it’s getting bigger and stronger to be able to hold up against those tackles and tight ends and fullbacks in the NFL.” 

Role in the NFL 

Anderson said Toohill garnered interest as both a 3-4 outside linebacker and a 4-3 defensive end during the pre-draft process. Some teams even inquired about him possibly playing as an off-the-ball inside linebacker or even an H-back or fullback. Teams were intrigued by his athleticism. 

But with the Eagles, Toohill is in the defensive line room, learning how to play defensive end. At Stanford, Toohill was an outside linebacker, but the outside ‘backers in that defense become like ends in a four-man rush in their nickel package, so he has some experience. 

“Now, he’s just gotta get used to doing it every single down, where you gotta be able to line up and knock a guy back and set a great edge, be able to stuff the run,” Anderson said. 

Anderson made sure to point out that Toohill’s size and athleticism should make him a good special teams player. That’ll be important, especially early in his career. If Toohill has a shot to make the roster — the odds are stacked against him — it’ll be because he flashes on special teams and shows his value there too. 

“What I’d love to see from Casey, because he does have so much athleticism and potential, and I think he has that work ethic, that drive, that desire to do it,” Anderson said. “What I’d love to see from him is just embrace that work ethic, get bigger, get stronger and be able to have a nice, long career playing at defensive end.” 

It won’t be easy, especially not starting out like this. But don’t expect to hear any excuses, especially not from Toohill. 

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After grieving loss of his brother, Vinny Curry back with his second family

After grieving loss of his brother, Vinny Curry back with his second family

If Vinny Curry decided to opt out of the 2020 NFL season, absolutely no one would have blamed him. 

As the league prepares to hold a season during a pandemic, Curry unfortunately knows better than most about the dangers of COVID-19. He helplessly watched as the virus took one of his closest family members earlier this year. 

Dr. Gerald Glisson died from the coronavirus on May 3. He was 46. 

And Curry was left grieving for his half brother, friend and idol. 

Football? Football was the last thing on his mind. 

“The passing of my brother has been really, really hard on me,” Curry said Thursday on a Zoom call with reporters. “I just thought I would take my time with it. I didn’t even think about the game honestly. But I started to get the itch. So that’s what brought me back.”

But in May, June and July, Curry just wasn’t ready to get back to football. The 32-year-old needed to grieve; he needed to be with his family. 

On Thursday, Curry got emotional as he talked about his appreciation for his teammates, who constantly checked in on him during the rough time in his life. He also thanked all the teams who showed interest in him for understanding the situation and letting him take his time. 

“It’s crazy, man,” Curry said. “It happened so fast. It’s like, ‘wait, what?’ So when that happened, free agency just started and I’m just sitting there stuck like a deer in the headlights.” 

Glisson was a principal at Eastside High School in Paterson, New Jersey, he was a teacher, an athletic director and a football coach. According to NJ.com, he held two master’s degrees and recently earned his doctorate. It’s clear how much Glisson meant to his family and the community; the field house at Bauerle Field in Paterson is being renamed for him. 

A large man, at 6-5, 300, Glisson was weakened by the coronavirus. Curry said his brother couldn’t even walk to the bathroom after contracting it. The virus snuck up, took Glisson and left his family devastated in its wake. 

 

Curry was especially devastated. Even though Glisson was 14 years his senior, they were extremely close. And when Curry began to make his athletic rise, it was Glisson’s legacy he was chasing. 

The Eagles drafted Curry back in 2012 and he has spent seven of his eight seasons playing for the team he rooted for as a child. Curry left the Eagles for Tampa Bay after the 2017 season, but lasted just one year and has since said that it never felt right there. He thinks he never should have left. 

Philadelphia is Curry’s home and the Eagles are his second family. So at a time when his heart was heavy, of course he returned. 

Curry signed a one-year contract to rejoin the Eagles on Aug. 10, just over three months after his half brother died. 

While Curry said the dangers of COVID-19 “absolutely” gave him pause about playing in the 2020 season, he heard about how safe NFL facilities were and has been thoroughly impressed since reporting for training camp, calling the NovaCare Complex’s safety precautions “phenomenal.” 

This will be Curry’s ninth NFL season and he figures to play a big role as a rotational defensive end just like he did last season. Even though the Eagles seemed to need pass rush depth, they didn’t sign someone else. They knew Curry needed time and they waited to sign him. 

“When you’re grieving like that and you talk to somebody every single day and that happens the way it happens, you ain’t thinking about nothing else but the family,” Curry said.  

“But then once teams got into training camps, I’m pretty sure you guys have heard about how safe the facility are. My thing was, it was just time to get back out there. I felt like, you know what, I’m gonna go and do it.” 

Curry will be thinking of Glisson every step of the way. 

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