Eagles

Chris Long to Malcolm Jenkins: 'I'm here for you'

Chris Long to Malcolm Jenkins: 'I'm here for you'

Eagles defensive end Chris Long became the first white professional athlete to actively participate in the national anthem demonstrations designed to cast a light on racial and social injustices.

Before the Eagles' preseason game against the Bills on Thursday, Long put his arm around safety Malcolm Jenkins (see story), who has raised his right fist in the air during the playing of the anthem since last season. Long explained he felt it necessary to show support for the cause in the aftermath of violence in his hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia.

"It's been a hard week for everybody," Long said postgame. "It's not just a hard week for someone being from Charlottesville. It's a tough week for America.

"I've heard a lot of people say, 'Why do athletes get involved in the national anthem protests?' I've said before that I'll never kneel for an anthem because the flag means something different for everybody in this country, but I support my peers. If you don't see why you need allies for people that are fighting for equality right now, I don't think you'll ever see it.

"Malcolm is a leader and I'm here to show support as a white athlete."

Long spoke out about the Charlottesville protests on Sunday (see story), making the case that his stance is not about politics, but "right and wrong." One day earlier, protests over the removal of Confederate memorials turned tragic when a counter-protester, Heather Heyer, was killed.

After the events that unfolded, Long could no longer sit idly by.

"I was inspired by a lot of the allies that were there to stand up against hate in my hometown and I wasn't able to be there to protest or to stand up against hate," Long said. "People like Heather Heyer gave their life for that and I was inspired by that.

"I just told Malcolm, 'I'm here for you.' I think it's a good time for people that look like me to be there for people that are fighting for equality."

Jenkins said he was aware Long was going to take part in the demonstration and was appreciative of his teammate's backing.

"Before the game, he approached me and he wanted to, in his own way, send a message of support," Jenkins said (see video).

"I think he understands that he could never necessarily know my experience as a black male, but in the light of all that's going on, as a white male, he understands that he needs to be an ally. He expressed that desire to me, and so I thought it was appropriate to show that gesture of support."

Though Jenkins' demonstration has not garnered the mainstream national attention of some of the other high profile athletes who have sat or knelt during the anthem, he has been among the most outspoken. The Pro Bowl safety is involved in various social programs and has even spoken to Congress about social injustice in the United States.

"The biggest thing is to continue to call attention to the things in this country I think everybody after the past week has been focusing on," Jenkins said.

"If we want to eradicate hate from our country, drawing attention to not only the hate itself but the products of those hates. If you look at the long history of our country, and how especially in our justice system we talk about police and community engagement — the duality of our justice system right now, communities of low income and communities with color have completely different interactions with the justice system than that of our counterparts — and in the light of everything that's happening, just continuing that discussion."

Jenkins wasn't the only of Long's teammates to show respect for the stance he took. Eagles cornerback Ron Brooks, who himself knelt for the anthem Thursday, also took notice that another person was using their platform to further the cause.

Brooks didn't get too caught up in the fact that Long is white and anthem demonstrators have been predominantly black. Anybody who's willing to take a stand is needed.

"I'm not too concerned about whether it be a white person, black person, they could be Anglo-Saxon, whatever race, it doesn't matter," Brooks said. "Just him showing his support — I think a lot more people need to [act] and not just be quiet and let things go to the wayside.

"I admire Chris for standing up for something and show support for injustices that are going on. Whether the person was Malcolm, or whether the person had been [Carson Wentz] or anyone else, just that support and speaking up and using your platform."

Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson troll Chip Kelly at autograph signing

Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson troll Chip Kelly at autograph signing

Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson teamed up for 13 touchdowns together during their career, and they teamed up once again to take a shot at their former coach.

On Saturday, Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson held an autograph signing at DTLR in Chester, Pa. and there was a very interesting sign posted outside the store.

No Chip Kelly allowed.

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This goes back to Vick and Jackson’s time together on the Eagles when Kelly was at the helm. The saga has been widely documented. In an interview earlier this year, Vick even told a story to Jackson about a time his relationship with his coach brought him to tears.

Jackson’s career has come full circle with his return to the Birds this offseason, but the scars, and the jabs, remain.

If you were wondering, Kelly was pretty busy on Saturday at UCLA’s spring game, as he prepares to improve upon a 3-9 season in his first year in charge of the Bruins’ football team.

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Eagles NFL draft options at No. 25: Cody Ford

Eagles NFL draft options at No. 25: Cody Ford

The top interior offensive line prospect in this year’s draft, Cody Ford is an intriguing prospect who hasn’t played very much football, although he did block for two pretty good QBs at Oklahoma in Kyler Murray and Baker Mayfield.

Ford is seen as a guard in the NFL, at least to start off, and that’s where he played early in his college career, but he is athletic enough that when injury forced him to move to right tackle this past fall, he earned third-team All-America honors.

Ford, who stands 6-foot-4, 330 pounds, started only 21 games in college, seven at guard. So he’s a raw prospect with a tremendous amount of upside. But with his natural power, athleticism and intelligence there’s no reason he can’t be a productive NFL starter immediately at guard.

Current roster at G: A ton of question marks. Brandon Brooks is one of the NFL’s best but is coming off Achilles surgery and nobody knows when he’ll be ready to play. Stefen Wisniewski, who started 27 games at guard for the Eagles the last three years, is gone. Isaac Seumalo has started 15 games in three years but remains something of a mystery. And there’s really nobody else, although Matt Pryor, a sixth-rounder last year, will get a look in camp.

How he would fit: If the Eagles drafted Ford, he’d be their starting left guard by the end of the day.

Eagles history at G in draft: The Eagles drafted guards in the first round in 1996 and 2004, and both became Pro Bowlers — Jermane Mayberry and Shawn Andrews. Andrews was a two-time first-team All-Pro but for a variety of reasons never really played after his 25th birthday. The only guard the Eagles have taken in the first round since Andrews was a 26-year-old ice hockey player who was more interested in being a fireman than playing football. Seumalo is the only center-guard they’ve taken in the first five rounds of the last seven drafts.

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Other options at 25