After 'shocker' of a cut, Eagles LB group is a reminder of volatility in the NFL

After 'shocker' of a cut, Eagles LB group is a reminder of volatility in the NFL

At one point on Tuesday afternoon, Nigel Bradham limped past an empty locker stall where Zach Brown’s nameplate had already been replaced by a generic one that says “Philadelphia Eagles.” 

How’s that for a reminder of how quickly things can change in the NFL? 

“It’s a crazy league,” Kamu Grugier-Hill said. “You know how the business is. Guys come in and out, injuries happen. It’s our job to always be ready and answer the bell.”

Bradham is “day to day” with an ankle injury suffered against the Vikings, while Brown was released on Monday, just a day after he played 58 snaps. 

In one day, Brown went from being a starter to out of a job. 

A few of his now former teammates on Wednesday said that they were surprised by Brown’s release, but at the same time, understand the volatility of life in the NFL. 

“It’s a shocker,” said Nate Gerry, who became good friends with Brown. “But, like I said, s— happens.” 

Grugier-Hill said he found out about Brown like everyone else, when the news hit the internet. 

Sometimes, that’s just life in the NFL. 

“I think at all times, I have learned this is how the business works,” T.J. Edwards said. “You never know what’s going to happen and you have to be prepared at all times to fill a role or do whatever you have to do to show your worth.”

Like Jim Schwartz the day before, head coach Doug Pederson didn’t want to delve into the specifics of why the Eagles cut a starting linebacker six weeks into the season, but did agree with Schwartz that the Eagles need more production from their linebacker group. 

While Pederson said Brown’s comments about Kirk Cousins didn’t have anything to do with his release, Pederson was less clear when asked if the move was strictly based on on-field reasons. 

“Obviously we're based on performance,” Pederson said. “I'm not going to get into a lot of the whys as to why we did it, but we need more production there and so we made a change.”

Without Brown and possibly without Bradham this weekend, the Eagles’ linebacker group could have a much different look when it takes the field against the Cowboys on Sunday night. The good news is that Grugier-Hill says he’s starting to feel like himself after recovering from an MCL sprain in the summer. 

Grugier-Hill along with Gerry and rookie Edwards will likely get most of the playing time. Duke Riley is in the mix as well and Alex Singleton has been called up from the practice squad

But the Eagles could very well be in a situation this Sunday where the two linebackers who have played the most for them this season aren’t on the field. 

“It’s part of the business. People come, people go,” Gerry said. “The week’s gonna go on, no one’s gonna feel sorry for you. You’re just gonna have to pick up where you left off and you have to get better each week.” 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

Eagles to host New Jersey high school football game suspended after shooting

AP Images

Eagles to host New Jersey high school football game suspended after shooting

The Eagles on Wednesday at Lincoln Financial Field will host the rest of a New Jersey high school playoff football game that was suspended because of a shooting. 

The game between Pleasantville High School and Camden High School was stopped on Friday night after a shooting in the crowd in Pleasantville that left three wounded, including a 10-year-old boy and a 15-year-old student

According to NBC 10, a suspect has been charged with three counts of attempted murder and two weapons counts, while three other men have been charged with unlawful possession of a weapon. 

The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) announced on Monday afternoon that the Eagles offered up their stadium to finish the approximately 17 remaining minutes of the playoff game. The NJSIAA had been looking for a neutral site. 

Larry White, the executive director of the NJSIAA, said the following in a statement released Monday: 

“It’s extremely unfortunate that a senselessly violent act has impacted this game, and there will certainly be a wide range of emotions along both sidelines. However, thanks to the Eagles’ generosity and community spirit, Pleasantville and Camden student-athletes and their families will have an opportunity to write their own ending to this game. They’ll compete on a world-class stage, sending a clear message that violence will not win.”

The Eagles are expected to release a statement and more information about the game on Tuesday. 

The NJSIAA took up the Eagles on their offer but thanked other schools for their assistance. The Black Horse Pike School District also offered to host the game. 

The game will resume at 4 p.m. on Wednesday. While the Linc will be closed to the public, each school will be given free passes for players’ parents and family members. The game will also be streamed live on NJ.com. 

The shooting on Friday night occurred in the third quarter with Camden leading 6-0. The winner of this game will face Cedar Creek on Saturday, Nov. 30 for the Central Group 2 Sectional Championship. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

The interesting wrinkle in Jay Ajayi's contract

The interesting wrinkle in Jay Ajayi's contract

The Eagles on Friday signed running back Jay Ajayi for the rest of the 2019 season, but based on what’s written into the contract, the Eagles will basically have the option to bring him back in 2020. 

Here’s the report from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport: 

So basically, Ajayi will kind of be a restricted free agent at the lowest (right of first refusal) level. That means the Eagles have the option to match a contract and keep the player, but won’t get compensation back if he goes elsewhere like a higher-level tendered player. The Eagles will still be eligible for a compensatory pick if Ajayi signs elsewhere and they don't match the offer. 

This is an interesting wrinkle to Ajayi’s contract, especially in the entire scope of the Eagles’ running back situation. 

Because, remember, Jordan Howard is set to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year. As long as he’s able to return from this stinger soon, he would be a realistic candidate to get an extension before the end of the season. But, to me, this part of Ajayi’s contract is sort of like an insurance policy if the Eagles aren’t able to re-sign Howard during free agency. Or if they choose to move on from Howard. 

The Eagles seem to like having a running back rotation and the only running back guaranteed to return in 2020 is Miles Sanders. Either Howard or a healthy Ajayi (we’ll see) would seemingly be a good complement. 

I say we’ll see because Ajayi hasn’t played football in over a year. He signed on Friday, but Doug Pederson opted to not play him two days later. During his career, Ajayi has been a very productive runner, averaging 4.5 yards per carry. 

But Ajayi, 26, tore his ACL last season and already had long-standing knee issues, so there’s some serious doubt about his football future. Ajayi will have a chance to answer some of those questions in the final six games of the 2019 season. 

“We will incorporate him,” Pederson said on Monday. “Again, if Jordan (Howard) … if he doesn't practice or whatever during the week then we definitely will get Jay ready to go.”

The Eagles at least took out an insurance policy of sorts. If Ajayi does have something left, they’ll have the option of bringing him back in 2020 no matter what other team is interested in him.

More on the Eagles