Eagles

'Their fans hate me for some reason' — Jadeveon Clowney discusses hits on Carson Wentz, Nick Foles

'Their fans hate me for some reason' — Jadeveon Clowney discusses hits on Carson Wentz, Nick Foles

Jadeveon Clowney had a big game Sunday, and his Seahawks are advancing to the divisional round of the playoffs. Yet, the three-time Pro Bowler wasn’t looking forward to reading his mentions on social media after knocking Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz out of the game with a concussion.

With one hit to Wentz’s head and neck area as the quarterback was going to the ground, Clowney changed the entire complexion of the game, and possibly the Eagles’ season. The offense never recovered from the loss of its field general, failing to find the end zone in a 17-9 defeat which eliminated the team from the postseason (see observations).

But while there will be a never-ending debate as to whether Clowney’s hit was cheap or dirty (see story) — at least outside Philadelphia — the defensive end insisted it was a clean play.

“I was just playing fast,” Clowney said from the visitors’ locker room postgame. “He turned like he was running the ball, so I was trying to get him down.

“It was a bang-bang play. I don’t intend to hurt nobody in this league. Let’s spit that out there. I’ve been down the injury road. It ain’t fun. My intention wasn’t to hurt him.”

Wentz was attempting to scramble when Seahawks safety Bradley McDougald tripped him up for a sack. As Wentz lunged forward toward the ground, Clowney lowered his shoulder and made contact around his upper back. Clowney then landed on Wentz, driving his head into the turf.

At the very least, the hit appeared to be unnecessary as Wentz was already going down regardless. There was also the appearance Clowney made helmet-to-helmet contact or hit the quarterback high, though a closer look the replay shows that may not have been the case.

Clowney denied he made contact with his helmet. He said he’s not expecting a fine for the hit, either. In fact, he discussed the play with an official afterward.

“Nobody flagged me,” Clowney said. “They didn’t say anything. I asked the ref what he thinks, if it was personal foul, he said, ‘I dunno, it’s kind of a bang-bang play.’

“He didn’t think so, so that’s why he didn’t throw it. If he thought so, I think he would’ve threw the flag, but he didn’t think so, so I’m moving on past it.”

Seattle perspective: Clowney calls Eagles fans 'the worst fans in the world'

Clowney could not deny, however, Wentz’s departure hampered the Eagles’ offense significantly.

“A lot,” Clowney said. “When you’ve got to play the backup quarterback, there’s only so many plays that they can run, and when you don’t game plan for him all week, it kind of puts him in a tough situation. Of course it helped us out the rest of that game being with Josh McCown in the game.”

Eagles fans were obviously distressed about the no-call — that their quarterback was out of the game, but Clowney was not ejected — and it’s not the first time the city had beef with Clowney.

Last season, Clowney delivered a devastating shot to Nick Foles’ chest, which left the quarterback writhing on the ground. The officials threw a flag and the NFL fined Clowney, though he claimed the fine was later rescinded.

“I tried to tell them boys on my team, I said, ‘This team hates me. Their fans hate me for some reason,’” Clowney said. “They think I tried to kill Nick Foles. You remember that play? It was bang-bang. I didn’t take him to the ground, either.”

The difference is Foles was OK. This time, Clowney dramatically altered the course of the Eagles’ season.

With five tackles, two tackles for a loss, a sack and a knockout blow, Clowney cemented his place as one of the worst villains in Philly sports history — up there with former Panthers linebacker Greg Favors, who injured Donovan McNabb with a questionable hit during the 2003 NFC Championship game.

Whatever you think of Clowney though, he walked out of Lincoln Financial Field wishing the best for Wentz, but feeling vindicated it was a legal hit.

“That’s a great player over there. For their team and for their organization, I hope he’s OK,” Clowney said.

“Like I said, I didn’t intend to hurt him. I didn’t even know he went out of the game until the next series. It was a small hit. Everybody was going crazy. It’s not like I even hit him hard. I was just trying to finish the play, but it happened and I hope he’s OK.”

 

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How close were the Eagles to keeping Raheem Mostert?

How close were the Eagles to keeping Raheem Mostert?

Several years before his monster game for the 49ers over the Packers, Raheem Mostert was just another undrafted rookie trying to make the Eagles' roster. Mostert on Sunday became the first player in NFL history with 200 rushing yards and four touchdowns in a playoff game.

Four years ago, he was an Eagle. Here's a story NBC Sports Philadelphia's Reuben Frank wrote on about Mostert's preseason back in August of 2015.

•••

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Just when we were all set to concede a roster spot to Kenjon Barner, Raheem Mostert does this.

Fifteen carries for 69 yards, eight catches for 93 yards and quite a statement that if the Eagles are going to keep a fourth running back, it should be him.

Barner, a third-year pro from Oregon, was terrific the first few games of the preseason, with two punt returns for touchdowns, a 50-yard gain on a screen pass and a rushing touchdown.

Mostert, a rookie from Purdue, has quietly been very good playing in Barner’s shadow, but with Barner getting just a couple touches Thursday night against the Jets, it was Mostert’s turn to shine.

He became the first Eagle in at least 15 years with 60 or more yards both rushing and receiving in the same preseason game.

For what it’s worth, only five Eagles in the last 50 years have had 60 rushing yards and 90 receiving yards in a regular-season game -- Brian Westbrook four times, Wilbert Montgomery three times and Timmy Brown, Ricky Watters and LeSean McCoy once each.

“I was just really trying to focus on the task at hand and trying to make a couple big plays out there and help the team out,” Mostert said at his locker.

“That was my main focus. I thought I did a pretty good job, but there’s always room for improvement. But I really tried my best and that’s all I can do.

“I came in with focus, My mentality was I’m going to stick it out, I’m not going to quit, I’m going to keep fighting, keep pushing, and at the end of the day that’s all anybody ever asks me to do in the NFL.”

Mostert finished the preseason with 351 yards from scrimmage, most by an Eagle in a preseason in at least 20 years.

That’s a ton of yards. Nearly 90 per game.

He averaged 4.0 yards on 39 carries and added 194 yards on 14 catches.

No back in the NFL had as many yards from scrimmage this preseason or as many total yards, including returns. He finished fourth in the NFL this preseason in receiving yards and fifth in rushing yards.

All of which guarantees Mostert absolutely nothing.

Barner’s numbers were impressive too. And with DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles -- three Pro Bowlers -- there may not even be a spot on the 53-man roster for a fourth running back.

Final cuts are due Saturday, but head coach Chip Kelly is expected to trim the Eagles’ roster on Friday afternoon.

“I’m not really too worried about it,” Mostert said. “Whatever happens happens. I’m just going to continue to push and just do my thing. Honestly. I’m not too worried about the cuts. I’m going to just work on what I’ve got to work on, regardless.”

Mostert was a two-time Big East sprint champ in college, but unlike most track guys that come to the NFL, he’s a physical runner, a capable blocker and a polished receiver.

“When you look at some of those track guys, you’re like, ‘OK, they’re fast and that’s about it. They can’t catch, they can’t block,’” Eagles running backs coach Duce Staley said. “He’s totally different. He brings a lot to the table. He’s aggressive, he can block, he can catch.”

There’s a school of thought that Barner, as a third-year pro who’s bounced around the league a bit, will be easier to sneak through waivers if he’s released. So you keep Mostert instead of leaving him unprotected and release Barner, hoping to add him to the practice squad.

The other school of thought says that Barner has done more than enough to warrant a roster spot and you keep him and let Mostert go, hoping nobody claims him, then bring him back on the practice squad.

The only certainty is that Mostert will be somewhere. Either on a 53 or on a practice squad.

Not that he wants to get released and start over somewhere else.

“I definitely think that [I’ll be somewhere], but I’m not going to be happy about it,” he said. “I know I can do a lot more and minimize the mistakes that I’ve had because I’ve had a lot of mistakes.

“It’s all on what I put on film, that’s what really matters. I’ve just got to continue to do the little things right in order to be special and be great for the team.

“Whatever the outcome is, I’m not too worried about it. I’ve just got to keep pushing, keep fighting. … Just to be the ultimate player.”

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Andy Reid’s former Eagles players are thrilled he’s going back to Super Bowl

Andy Reid’s former Eagles players are thrilled he’s going back to Super Bowl

One of Andy Reid’s biggest strengths — one he shares with Doug Pederson — is that his players love him. He connects with them.

That’s why it should come as no surprise that so many of his former players are really happy for him right now as Reid is heading back to the Super Bowl 15 years after he took the Eagles.

It seems like most of Philadelphia will be pulling for the Chiefs in two weeks.

But we also know a bunch of Reid’s former players and co-workers from Philadelphia, some who played in Super Bowl XXXIX, will be rooting hard for Big Red in Super Bowl LIV.

Here were a few of their reactions on Sunday night:

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