The unique friendship behind Foles vs. Keenum

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The unique friendship behind Foles vs. Keenum

Let's talk about conference championship game quarterback matchups over the years.
Bradshaw vs. Stabler.
Theismann vs Montana.
Elway vs. Kosar.
Marino-Kelly. Young-Aikman. McNabb-Warner. Brady-Peyton. Favre-Eli. Wilson-Rodgers. Brady-Flacco. Foles-Keenum.
It is one of the stranger matchups in NFL playoff history, and the fact that Nick Foles and Case Keenum are close friends and former teammates with the Rams and began the season as backups only adds to the uniqueness of the situation.
"I know this is what all of you guys predicted back in the day, a Foles vs. Keenum NFC Championship," Keenum said. "So good job to all of you guys who predicted that."
Foles and Keenum are both six-year pros who are with their third NFL team. Both are or were teammates of Sam Bradford. Both survived playing for Jeff Fisher. Both just won their first career playoff game over the weekend.
And one of them will start in Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis in two weeks.
"I think the big thing (is) you’ve just always got to believe, and you always have to prepare," Foles said. "I know being around Case, I know he does an amazing job preparing and working and just being a great team player.
"Sometimes things happen where unfortunately guys get injured, and you have to step in and it's your job to lead the team."
The parallels between Keenum and Foles are crazy.
Keenum was 0-8 as a rookie with Houston but is 20-10 as a starter since. He has 46 career touchdowns and 27 interceptions, has completed 62 percent of his passes and has an 86.0 passer rating.
Foles was 1-5 as a rookie with the Eagles but is 21-12 as a starter since. He has 61 career touchdowns and 29 interceptions, has completed 60 percent of his career passes and has an 87.4 passer rating.
They were teammates in 2015 with the Rams before Foles spent a year backing up Alex Smith in Kansas City and then returned to the Eagles to back up Carson Wentz. Keenum, after one more year with the Rams, signed with the Vikings to back up Bradford.
Heck, they're almost the same person.
They meet at 6:40 p.m. Sunday in the NFC Championship Game at the Linc.
"First of all, Nick is a great guy," Keenum said. "One of my best friends. A really, really solid guy. Great faith, great family. My wife and his wife are great friends. His entire family are good people.
"Great football player. Prepares well, extremely talented, big arm and he’s really, really athletic, too. I know he’s got a lot of confidence, and I’m looking forward to playing against him."
Foles said he and Keenum have been in touch during the season, comparing notes on common opponents and exchanging tips on various defenses.
This is why sports are so great.
Two best friends who were forgotten backups on a lousy 7-9 Rams team two years ago are now facing each other for a berth in the Super Bowl.
"It's pretty wild, absolutely," Foles said. "We were on the same team not too many years ago.
"You know, he's really done an amazing job," Foles said. "It doesn't surprise me. Case's success and the way he plays doesn't surprise me because him and I were together and we prepared together. We were around each other every day.
"But I think the big message there is no matter what happens, you've just got to keep believing in yourself, keep working hard and just never give up."

Report: NFLPA board unanimously recommends to cancel entire preseason 

Report: NFLPA board unanimously recommends to cancel entire preseason 

Just two days after we learned the NFL’s plan to cut the 2020 preseason in half, the NFL Players Association is reportedly recommending that the league cancel the entire preseason. 

The NFLPA’s board of representatives voted unanimously on the recommendation, according to ESPN. 

On Wednesday, ProFootballTalk reported that the NFL was cutting the preseason in half because of the coronavirus pandemic, keeping Weeks 2 and 3 but eliminating Weeks 1 and 4. Other reports indicated that those preseason games would be pushed back later into August. 

If the Eagles end up playing the original Weeks 2 and 3 of their preseason schedule, they will face the Dolphins on the road and the Patriots at home. They were originally scheduled to be at Indianapolis in Week 1 and at home against the Jets in Week 4, but those games have already been canceled. 

The NFL is still planning for training camps to begin on July 28 with rookies and select vets allowed to report earlier. 

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said earlier this offseason that his team will need the entire five-to-six-week training camp to get ready for the 2020 season, especially after missing the entire spring workout schedule because of the pandemic. 

The Eagles are scheduled to begin their 2020 regular season in Washington on Sept. 13. 

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Redskins considering changing name amid rising pressure

Redskins considering changing name amid rising pressure

He said he would never do it.

"We'll never change the name of the team," Dan Snyder told USA Today in 2013. "It's that simple. Never. You can use caps."

Now, amid an increased national focus on racism and social justice and mounting pressure from million-dollar sponsors, his tune has suddenly changed.

The Redskins' owner said in a statement Friday that the franchise will review the team's name, seen by many as racist and offensive to Native Americans and others.

Protests against the Redskins' name and logo have been ongoing for decades, but when companies like FedEx and Nike join those protests, things can change very quickly.

Considering the growing pressure now on the franchise, it would be surprising at this point if the franchise elects not to change its name.

"In light of recent events around our country and feedback from our community, the Washington Redskins are announcing the team will undergo a thorough review of the team's name," the statement read. "This review formalizes the initial discussions the team has been having with the league in recent weeks."

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who has consistently supported Snyder's decision to keep the team name, released a statement saying only, "In the last few weeks we have had ongoing discussions with Dan and we are supportive of this important step."

FedEx, which paid $205 million for the naming rights for the Redskins' stadium in 1998, asked the Redskins earlier Friday to change the team name. And Nike, the NFL's official uniform supplier, on Thursday removed all Redskins gear from its website while continuing to allow customers to order merchandise from all 31 other teams.

In the statement released by the team, Snyder said: "This process allows the team to take into account not only the proud tradition and history of the franchise but also input from our alumni, the organization, sponsors, the National Football League and the local community it is proud to represent on and off the field."

First-year Redskins head coach Ron Rivera, a former Eagles assistant coach and one of three Latin American head coaches in NFL history, indicated in the statement that he favors a name change.

"This issue is of personal importance to me and I look forward to working closely with Dan Snyder to make sure we continue the mission of honoring and supporting Native Americans and our Military."

The team's current name dates back 87 years.

The NFL Boston Braves franchise was founded in 1932 and one year later moved to Fenway Park, which it shared with the baseball franchise of the same name. To avoid confusion, owner George Preston Marshall changed the name to Redskins. The franchise moved to Washington in 1937 and kept the name.

Marshall, who owned the franchise until his death in 1969, refused to allow black players on the roster until 1962, which made the team the last in the NFL to integrate. 

Not until U.S. attorney general Robert F. Kennedy threatened to rescind the team's lease at city-owned RFK Stadium did Marshall finally allow the team's roster to be integrated.

Last month, team officials removed Marshall's name from the Redskins Ring of Honor at FedEx Field, and a statue of Marshall was removed from RFK Stadium by city officials after it was vandalized.

Protests against sports teams and logos perpetuating stereotypes of Native Americans and their culture have grown more widespread in recent years but have been held for decades.

In 1991 — nearly 30 years ago — there were organized protests against the Atlanta Braves and Redskins over their team names and logos, according to an Associated Press story. The story quoted Clyde Bellecourt, director of a group called the American Indian Movement, which organized protests outside Braves and Redskins games.

"It's a racist term," Bellecourt told the AP in October of 1991. "We're not thin-skinned, this just makes a mockery of uses a people and of our culture."

And now, it looks like the franchise is finally going to do something about it.

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