Eagles

Sidney Jones missing practice with lower-body soreness

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NBC Sports Philadelphia

Sidney Jones missing practice with lower-body soreness

When the Eagles began their mandatory minicamp Tuesday, there was a notable absence. 

Well, not an absence, but Sidney Jones wasn’t participating. The Eagles’ second-year cornerback, who is facing high expectations, has been dealing with lower-body soreness, according to head coach Doug Pederson Wednesday. He missed the end of OTAs and is now missing minicamp time. 

The important part is that Pederson said this soreness is unrelated to Jones’ surgically-repaired Achilles tendon that dropped him out of the first round and into the Eagles’ lap at No. 43 in last year’s draft. 

“We’re taking precautions,” Pederson said. “Again, this is not the time we’re going to push anybody. Not going to put anybody out there that’s nicked up, banged up. Want to make sure everybody is ready to go for training camp.”

So what does this missed time mean for Jones? 

Well, it’s not good news. There are certainly high expectations for the very talented and young corner. Before this “soreness,” Jones was getting some reps as the team’s nickel corner. Plenty of other guys have worked with the first team there too, including De’Vante Bausby, Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby. It’s one of the position battles that’s going to be important to watch in the summer. That position wasn’t decided last year until the Birds traded for Darby and slid Patrick Robinson into the slot, where he thrived enough to get a contract in New Orleans. 

Jones, 22, would be an obvious choice to win that job this year. If nothing else, it would make sense for him to at least see the field in the nickel package in some capacity. If that is outside, it could mean sliding Mills inside on passing downs. 

Either way, Jones is supremely talented, a guy the Eagles originally targeted with their first-round pick a year ago. So it would be obvious that they’d want to get him on the field over a relatively unknown player like Bausby. But Bausby isn’t making this easy. 

Bausby, 25, was signed to the Eagles’ practice squad last September. At the time, the theory was that he was a spy. He had previously spent time with the Chiefs and the Eagles were about to play them. But it’s clear now that the Eagles actually like Bausby. This spring, Bausby has been great and is separating himself in the slot. 

Is that enough to eventually keep Jones off the field? Probably not. But it can’t help to have him on the sideline. 

More from Eagles minicamp

• Michael Bennett explains OTAs absence after 1st Eagles practice

• Despite being held back, Darren Sproles flashes vintage self

• Fletcher Cox wants to be Defensive Player of Year — can he?

• After ring ceremony, Eagles will be done celebrating Super Bowl

• Duce Staley confirms Eagles will have a lead running back

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

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Eagles

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

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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