It’s now officially game week heading into Week 1 of the 2018 season, which means Nigel Bradham is banned from the NovaCare Complex.
The Eagles’ starting linebacker is suspended for Week 1 for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. He can’t practice all week, he can’t be in the building all week and he can’t be in the stadium on Thursday.
So he’ll spend the week working out — as of earlier this week he hadn’t decided if he’ll stay in Philly or go home to Florida — before watching the Eagles-Falcons game on TV.
“It’s not something I want to do, obviously,” Bradham said. “I’m ready to get past it. That’s it.”
Bradham, 28, admitted the advanced notice of the suspension has helped the team prepare for his absence. The team has known about the one-game suspension since June and knew about the threat of suspension long before that.
In fact, Bradham said the original suspension was six games, but it was eventually reduced to one.
Bradham was caught up in two legal incidents two years ago. First, he was charged with assault at a Miami hotel and then two months later forgot he had a loaded gun in his backpack and tried to walk through airport security.
Both incidents were resolved legally, but the NFL operates outside the law, thus, the suspension.
Without Bradham, the Eagles will still have Jordan Hicks and then likely some combination of Nate Gerry and Kamu Grugier-Hill to fill the void. Bradham said he thinks the team will “excel” without him. That’s a nice thing for him to say, but the Eagles are obviously much better when he’s on the field. Last season, he was a huge part of the Super Bow team, taking over signal-calling after Hicks went down.
Bradham said he’ll watch the game live on TV and will keep the volume on for the NBC broadcast.
“Of course it’s going to be hard to watch it,” he said. “It’s going to be difficult. It’s a lot going into this game and obviously I won’t be there.”
Since joining the Eagles in 2016, Bradham has played in every game except for the meaningless season finale against the Cowboys in Week 17 last year. But at least for that one, he got to watch from the sideline.
Is he going to be able to keep his cool while watching on TV?
“I don’t know, man,” Bradham said. “I’m going to find out Thursday.”
And we’re going to find out if the Eagles can survive a game without him.