Eagles

Mychal Kendricks glad Eagles didn't give in to his request

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Mychal Kendricks glad Eagles didn't give in to his request

During the 2017 offseason, Mychal Kendricks asked the Eagles to trade him. The club did not oblige.

We know now how that decision turned out for everybody. The Eagles are in the Super Bowl, and Kendricks will play a massive role in the game. That's what you call a happy ending.

The Eagles were fortunate. Some NFL players would've held out or become a distraction when their demands were not met. Others might've approached their jobs with indifference or apathy.

But Kendricks put the team first. The 27-year-old linebacker worked hard and waited for his opportunity.

The result has been satisfying for all parties involved.

"You just have to work with whatever the situation is," Kendricks said Thursday. "We're in a great position right now to win the Super Bowl, to go and do great things. It's pretty cool."

Kendricks was previously disgruntled over his playing time, which diminished last season after the Eagles named Jim Schwartz defensive coordinator and changed schemes. A starter and every-down player his first four seasons in the league, Kendricks was on the field for only roughly a quarter of the defense's snaps in 2016.

Whether the front office didn't want to weaken the depth at linebacker, or the offers were unspectacular, the Eagles decided to hold on to Kendricks. Whatever their reasons, a season-ending injury to Jordan Hicks found Kendricks playing fulltime again in '17.

Not only that, but Kendricks responded with a strong season after back-to-back disappointing campaigns. With 87 tackles, 2.0 sacks and seven pass breakups, including playoffs, he probably even played well enough to get on another team's radar this coming offseason.

For the time being, at least, Kendricks seems content with being back on the field.

"I'm having fun because I'm playing," Kendricks said. "It's always fun to play the game."

Kendricks' story is in stark contrast to many of his teammates. He might be the only player in the Eagles' locker room who didn't want to be here when the season began.

Center Jason Kelce was relieved when offseason trade rumors didn't come true, for example, whereas wide receiver Jordan Matthews was devastated when the club dealt him to the Bills in August.

Some players went so far as to make sacrifices to be part of this team. Defensive end Chris Long opted not to re-sign with the defending world champion Patriots in March, instructing his agent to call the Eagles instead (see story). Quarterback Nate Sudfeld turned down a spot on the Redskins' 53-man roster to join the Eagles' practice squad.

Kendricks' journey was nothing like theirs — although, the one thing he wouldn't trade is his experience this season.

"I don't think about things once they're done," Kendricks said. "I'm a true believer in the universe. I'm a big believer in the universe, and the cosmos and stars aligning.

"Things happen for a reason. It all worked out. If I would have been in a different predicament, we wouldn't be talking about this. I'm obviously sitting here today talking to you, going to the Super Bowl. I don't think I'd want it any other way."

With his offseason trade demand in the rearview mirror, Kendricks hopes reflecting on the past doesn't elicit negative emotions in others. It certainly shouldn't. What makes his story great is the classy manner with which he conducted himself all year, even before the playing-time increase and success that followed.

"Judge me for today, not for anything that happened a long time ago," Kendricks said.

Then Kendricks issues a reminder that life will go on after the Super Bowl, a realization that had not yet occurred to many of us. And when this ride ends in less than two weeks, Hicks will be coming back from injury, and — assuming impending free agent Nigel Bradham is re-signed — the Eagles will again have a logjam at linebacker.

"After this season, we'll be right back at square one, right? Every season is a new season," Kendricks said.

This could be Kendricks' final game in an Eagles uniform, or the club could keep him next season, when he carries a cap hit of $7.6 million. Either way, you can count him to roll with the punches.

Jeff Lurie releases statement in light of NFL's national anthem policy

Jeff Lurie releases statement in light of NFL's national anthem policy

The NFL’s new policy that aims to eliminate on-field demonstrations during the playing of the national anthem has been the biggest news of the day. 

The policy (outlined here) has been met with plenty of reactions, even from a couple notable Eagles players (see story)

On Wednesday evening, Eagles owner Jeff Lurie released the following statement: 

I have always believed it is the responsibility of sports teams to be very proactive in our communities. In this great country of ours, there are so many people who are hurting and marginalized, which is why I am proud of our players for continuously working to influence positive change. Their words and actions have demonstrated not only that they have a great deal of respect for our country, but also that they are committed to finding productive ways to fight social injustice, poverty and other societal issues that are important to all of us. We must continue to work together in creative and dynamic ways to make our communities stronger and better with equal opportunities for all.

Lurie is considered one of the more socially aware owners in the NFL and his players have been very appreciative of his support in the past. Lurie even joined his team on the field during this season in September after President Donald Trump publicly said, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now.'"

But this statement doesn’t really answer any questions. 

While it’s noteworthy that Lurie is proud of players who fight for positive change and at least he mentioned the reason players are protesting in the first place, the Eagles’ owner didn’t address any specifics about how the Eagles will address the new anthem policy and possible fines that could be levied by the NFL to the Eagles. Nor did Lurie address if or how the Eagles would discipline players now that the power to do so is in their hands. 

In fact, Lurie didn’t specifically mention the anthem or protests at all. 

It was first reported that the policy passed unanimously, but then it was revealed that 49ers owner Jed York abstained from the vote. Lurie, presumably, voted for the policy. At least we know he didn’t vote against it. 

Earlier in the day, Jets chairman Christopher Johnson said his team would support any players who wanted to protest during the anthem and would not fine them.

Lurie’s statement fell short of answering some important questions. 

Malcolm Jenkins, Chris Long, others react to NFL's national anthem policy

Malcolm Jenkins, Chris Long, others react to NFL's national anthem policy

Updated: 9:35 p.m.

As expected, the reactions started pouring in Wednesday when the NFL announced its new national anthem policy.

From players to organizations and groups outside of football, many are acknowledging the league's polarizing decision.

Eagles owner Jeff Lurie released a statement Wednesday night (see story). Here's a look at how his team could be affected (see story), while players have started to express their thoughts on the policy.

"Ultimately it is taking the players' voice away," Lane Johnson told NBC Sports Philadelphia's Derrick Gunn. "I think there will be some backlash from their decision."

Malcolm Jenkins and Chris Long also released statements on their Twitter accounts.

Here's a look at some of the reactions: