Temple football extends contract with Eagles to continue playing at Lincoln Financial Field

Temple football extends contract with Eagles to continue playing at Lincoln Financial Field

Temple, one of only four college football teams to play all its home games in an NFL stadium, extended its contract with the Eagles another five years on Monday.

Terms of the deal were not announced, but a story in the Temple News in 2016 reported that Temple University leased the Linc for $1 million per year but said school officials expected the price to increase to $3 million per year under terms of a new contract.

Temple, which has played its home games at the Linc since 2003, will continue to play at the Eagles' stadium through 2024, according to terms of a contract extension the Eagles announced.

The deal includes a five-year option, although a press release from the Eagles doesn't specify which party holds the option. Presumably, Temple officials can exercise the option through 2029 if efforts to build an on-campus stadium do not pan out over the next five years or get out of the deal with the Eagles after the 2024 season if they're able to get a stadium built.

Temple's original lease with the Eagles ran through 2017 but both sides agreed to extend it two years while Temple unsuccessfully explored building an on-campus stadium. That extension expired after the 2019 season, so until now the Owls did not officially have a home for their 2020 games.

The Owls play either six or seven home games per year. They have seven scheduled for 2020.

According to The Temple News, Temple does not receive any portion of parking revenue from its home football games but does get 10 percent of concessions. 

This contract extension was announced only about seven months before Temple's 2020 home opener, scheduled for Sept. 12 against Idaho.

Temple's average announced attendance in 2018, the last year the NCAA has data for, was 28,470. During the five-year span from 2014 through 2018 the Owls averaged 30,108 and ranked 75th out of 130 FBS programs.

Capacity at the Linc is 69,176, so the stadium has been about 44 percent full over the last five years for Temple football games.

The only other college football programs to play all their home games in an NFL stadium are Miami at the Dolphins' Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens; Pitt at the Steelers' Heinz Field in Pittsburgh; and South Florida at the Buccaneers' Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.

Temple is 54-46 at the Linc since it opened in 2003 and 24-8 over the last five years. The Owls have played in a bowl game in each of the last five years.

"We are pleased to extend our agreement with Temple University," Eagles president Don Smolenski said in a statement. "We have enjoyed a great relationship for the past 17 seasons, as our staffs have worked together to make Lincoln Financial Field the home for Temple football. We look forward to continuing that tradition into the future."

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Fringe 1st-round receiver Brandon Aiyuk undergoes core muscle surgery

Fringe 1st-round receiver Brandon Aiyuk undergoes core muscle surgery

Possible first-round receiver Brandon Aiyuk reportedly had surgery today in Philadelphia, according to NFL Network. 

The speedy Arizona State receiver is thought to be a possible late-first-round or second-round pick in the NFL Draft later this month. 

Meyers, who is based in Philadelphia, is widely considered to be the top surgeon in the country for this procedure. He draws in athletes from all over the country for this particular surgery. 

It’s the same surgery DeSean Jackson ended up needing last year and that another draft prospect, Laviska Shenault, had in February. 

The big question with Aiyuk is this: What does this do to his draft stock? 

Well, a surgery a little over two weeks from the draft certainly won’t help. But at least it explains why he ran a 4.50 in the 40-yard dash at the combine. That’s not a bad time at all, but Aiyuk looks faster in games and that’s probably because he is. 

The likelihood of no OTAs is an interesting wrinkle in this. The normal recovery time after this kind of surgery is around 4-8 weeks. So because there likely won’t be any practices until training camp, there’s a good chance Aiyuk will be completely healed by then. 

In an Eagles-only mock draft on March 31, I had the Eagles taking Aiyuk with the 53rd pick but I wasn’t completely convinced he’d be there. This injury/surgery makes it slightly more likely that he is. 

Replacing N’Keal Harry for the Sun Devils in 2019, Aiyuk had a big season, catching 65 passes for 1,192 yards (18.3) and 8 touchdowns. But he also played just two seasons at ASU after transferring from a JUCO program. 

Despite the injury, Aiyuk tested well at the combine. And his freakish wingspan gives him a giant catch radius. 

Where Aiyuk really shines is with the ball in his hands. He also returned kicks and punts at ASU and his YAC ability is impressive. Aiyuk would be a great weapon for Doug Pederson and the Eagles’ offense. 

Maybe this surgery helps him fall into their range in Round 2. 

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NFL mock draft 2020: Eagles get a couple receivers and a lot of defense

NFL mock draft 2020: Eagles get a couple receivers and a lot of defense

Another Eagles-only mock draft, another one with them taking two receivers. 

I just can’t see how they don’t at this point. With their inaction at the position all offseason, I think they need to draft at least two later this month. 

Let’s not waste more time. To my latest Eagles-only mock: 

Round 1-21: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU 

For a while now, Jefferson has been the most popular name for the Eagles with the 21st pick and for good reason. He’s a good receiver, but not considered to be one of the top three in the class. His value lines up right around where the Eagles will be picking. 

Heck, my colleague at NBC Sports, Chris Simms, loves Jefferson. 

The big question about Jefferson (6-1, 202) is whether or not he’ll be able to play outside at the next level. It’s a valid question and there’s legitimate concern about that. So if the Eagles wouldn’t feel comfortable taking a slot receiver in the first round, it’s going to take some projecting on their part to make the pick. And with a team that has prioritized 12 personnel in recent seasons, maybe the Eagles simply want to find a player they can play outside. 

But, to me, Jefferson is just a really good receiver and I’m not as bothered by his lack of playing time outside. If we’re worried about giving Carson Wentz a reliable weapon, Jefferson fits that mold, even if he’s working inside most of the time. He can still be a game-changer working from the slot. 

And it’s not like Jefferson is a sloth out there. He has good speed and athleticism, so even if Jefferson is inside, he’d be explosive from that spot. 

In 2019, Jefferson caught 111 passes for 1,540 yards and 18 touchdowns. And he came up huge down the stretch as LSU won the national championship. There are no sure things in the NFL Draft, but I feel pretty confident Jefferson will at least be a good player at the NFL level. 

Round 2-53: Antoine Winfield Jr., S, Minnesota 

The Eagles re-signed Rodney McLeod, brought back Jalen Mills as a safety and signed Will Parks as a free agent this offseason. But none of that should stop the Eagles from drafting a safety high. And Winfield is a really good one. 

Some people will be scared by his size — or lack of size, but the 5-9, 203-pound Winfield is built well and has an NFL pedigree. He’s the son of former NFL cornerback Antoine Winfield. The younger Winfield is coming off a really impressive 2019 season after injuries in the previous two years limited him. In 2019, Winfield Jr. was great. 

Last season, he had 83 tackles, 7 INTs (1 returned for a TD), 3 sacks. And he even returned a few punts in 2018, taking one to the house. 

Winfield is not an outstanding athlete, but he’s athletic enough to get the job done and that 4.45 speed isn’t bad either. 

Winfield makes up for his lack of size with incredible instincts and still hits pretty hard despite his stature. He’s fun to watch because he’s just a playmaker. And he’s versatile enough that Jim Schwartz and the Eagles should be interested. 

Round 3-103: Bradlee Anae, DE, Utah 

Howie Roseman is going to struggle to sit and watch 50 picks come off the board but he’d probably be pretty happy if he can still get a good pass rusher late in the third round. Remember, the Eagles’ own third-round pick went to the Lions in the trade for Darius Slay. 

With Anae (uh-nigh), the Eagles would be getting a 6-3, 257-pound pass rusher who is coming off a 13-sack season at Utah and broke the school’s all-time sack record with 30.0 in four years. Anae started 38 games for the Utes and was a two-time first-team All-Pac 12 defensive end. 

The Hawaiian-born Anae got an invite to the Senior Bowl this year and made the most of it. He had a good week of practices and then picked up three sacks in the game. 

Because Anae had a solid performance at the combine and he was good at the Senior Bowl. He was a high-motor player for Utah, putting together some impressive tape. 

The Eagles have a need at defensive end too. Because Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett are back in 2020 but neither are locked up long-term and there isn’t much depth after them either. 

Round 4-127: Davion Taylor, LB, Colorado

The Eagles probably won’t draft a linebacker super early but here’s a chance for them to wait until the fourth round and get a really intriguing player with an amazing athletic profile. 

Taylor (6-0, 228) is obviously undersized but that’s kind of what the Eagles want in their linebackers these days. With a little more polish, he has the chance to be a really good player. He certainly has the physical makeup for it. 

If you think his 4.49 time in the 40 at the combine is fast, well, he shaved even more time off of it at the Colorado pro day. This dude has track speed and it showed up on the field. Here was one of his more eye-popping collegiate plays: 

Taylor got a late start in football because of religious beliefs — check out his story (it’s pretty interesting) — so he’s still a work in progress. But with the physical tools he possesses, the right coaches could make him into an impressive player. 

Round 4-145: Bryan Edwards, WR, South Carolina 

Here comes the double-dip for the Eagles at receiver. This time, they nab Edwards (6-3, 212), who I think would have gone a little higher if not for injury concerns. I think the Eagles will stay away from injury-concern guys at the top of the draft but if they can find value later on with guys who slip because of it, they might take a chance. 

Edwards final college season ended with a knee injury and then he broke his foot before the combine so he couldn’t participate. I think he would have tested very well. 

He’s a big, strong receiver who has plenty of long speed. Edwards made some impressive plays for the Gamecocks. 

In his four-year career, despite shaky quarterback play, Edwards caught 234 passes for 3,045 yards and 22 touchdowns. Edwards is the South Carolina record holder for career receptions, yards and finished one touchdown behind Sidney Rice and Alshon Jeffery for that record. 

Round 4-146: Harrison Hand, CB, Temple 

This is probably later than some would like to see a cornerback taken but there’s a chance the board simply falls this way. And Hand would be a nice scoop late in the fourth round. The Cherry Hill product starting his college career at Baylor but transferred to Temple for the 2019 season and was granted a waiver to play immediately. 

In his one season with the Owls, Hand had 3 INTs, 5 PBUs and 4 TFLs. His junior season at Temple wasn’t all good, but he showed some traits that might make him a good NFL player. 

At the combine, Hand ran a 4.52, which is solid but he would have likely gotten that under 4.5 at Temple’s pro day. Oh well. 

Round 5-168: Alex Taylor, OT, South Carolina State 

The Eagles lost Halapoulivaati Vaitai in free agency and don’t have a ton backing up Andre Dillard and Lane Johnson right now. Jordan Mailata might be ready … he might not. So the Eagles get a guy who can play multiple positions in the next round but for now, they get another project for Jeff Stoutland. 

Taylor is 6-8, 308 and comes from the same FCS school that produced Javon Hargrave in 2016. 

A former basketball player, the thing that stands out about Taylor is his athleticism. In fact, he transferred to SCSU to play basketball before getting back on the football field. 

Round 6-190: Calvin Throckmorton, iOL, Oregon 

No, I don’t have the Eagles taking Throckmorton just because his name is great — although that certainly didn’t hurt. Throckmorton is 6-foot-5, 317 pounds and has the versatility to play several spots along the line. That alone should be enough to like him. 

At Oregon, Throckmorton started a total of 52 games coming at four different positions. The only spot he didn’t start was at left guard. According to Oregon, he allowed just one sack in his last 45 games. Throckmorton was a late addition to the Senior Bowl but the brainy senior picked up the offense very quickly and played both tackle spots and center during the actual game. 

Throckmorton is big and accomplished but there are questions about where he fits best at the next level. Many think it’s inside because he’s not a great athlete. That’s also a reason why he’s available this late in the draft. 

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