Eagles

Not sticking to sports, Charlottesville native Chris Long feels responsibility to speak out

Not sticking to sports, Charlottesville native Chris Long feels responsibility to speak out

Eagles defensive end Chris Long is from Charlottesville, Virginia. It's where he went to high school and college. He feels a responsibility to speak out about the crisis in his hometown. 

And he’s not sticking to sports.

On Saturday, the 32-year-old spoke out publicly, via Twitter, against the white nationalists holding the rally and President Donald Trump's response, which condemned "violence on many sides." 

"Some people are tired of hearing me tweet because they want me to stick to football but I like to use social media like I was a regular guy because I think I am," Long said Sunday. "I don't tell people to stick to their job when they want to talk politics. And this isn't political. That's the thing. Everybody is trying to turn this political. This isn't a political issue. This is right or wrong. I believe you're on one side or the other. For me, being from Charlottesville, no one wants to see you sit idly by and watch that stuff happen and not say anything. And I wish there was more categorical denial from some very important people in this country who have had the opportunity to strike it down but didn't."

Long, who went to St. Anne's-Belfield School before attending the University of Virginia — both in Charlottesville — said he'd "be willing to bet that the vast majority of people voicing those white supremacist sentiments were from out of town." 

He thinks the majority of the folks trying to stop them were either from the town or students. 

"So it's disheartening but I really think it's desperation for those folks that feel threatened by us doing the right thing," he said.  

The "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville began when the decision was made to remove a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee from Emancipation Park. The rally was met by counter-protesters and the scene turned extremely violent. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency. 

Long said he is "all for free speech" but said he finds those opinions to be "despicable." 

Football has given Long a chance to perhaps see the world differently than he ever would have. He spoke Sunday about how much the locker room has molded him. 

"I wish everybody would have a chance to be on a team," he said. "I really do believe, it might be cliché, but we come from a lot of different walks of life and backgrounds and I've played with a lot of guys I probably would have never met in other walks of life. We sit here in a bubble in a really positive way. I wish the rest of the world could be on a team. I know that sounds kind of cliché but we get to really be exposed to each other's different cultures, different ways of life and the way we look at different things. And I think that's the really cool thing about being on a team."

2019 NFL playoff picture: The entire NFC East really, really, really sucks

2019 NFL playoff picture: The entire NFC East really, really, really sucks

The Eagles have won one game since the first week of November, and they’ve lost exactly half a game to the first-place Cowboys in the NFC East standings.

The Cowboys lost their third straight game Thursday night, falling to the Bears, 31-24, in Chicago.

This definitely helps the Eagles although not quite as much as you might think.

Here's why:

The Cowboys fell to 6-7 after a 3-0 start. The Eagles are 5-7 with a game Monday night against the 2-10 Giants at the Linc.

But even with Dallas losing Thursday night, the Eagles still have to beat the Cowboys head-to-head and win their three other games to guarantee that they win the NFC East.

That’s because the Cowboys can still lose to the Eagles and finish 8-8 overall and 5-1 in the NFC East if they beat the Rams next Sunday and the Redskins on the final day of the season.

But even with a win over the Cowboys, a loss in any of their other games — to the Giants home and away or the Redskins — would leave the Eagles 8-8 overall and 4-2 in the division.

The Eagles easily win the common opponents tiebreaker with the Cowboys, but that doesn't come into play unless the teams are tied overall, head-to-head and in division record.

But the Cowboys' latest loss does help the Eagles in that if the Cowboys lose to either the Rams a week from Sunday or the Redskins on Dec. 29, the Eagles could afford to lose one of their remaining games and still win the division at 8-8 if they beat the Cowboys head-to-head, since in that scenario the Cowboys would finish 7-9.

The website fivethirtyeight.com, which provides percentages for teams to reach the playoffs based on changeable variables, had the Eagles with a 34 percent chance of winning the NFC East before the Cowboys-Bears game. That would have gone down to 26 percent if the Cowboys won. Instead it increased to 41 percent. 

If the Eagles beat the Giants Monday night, their chances increase to 47 percent. 

It's been so long since either of these teams won a game it seems silly to even talk about the playoff picture. 

But somebody has to win the NFC East. 

We think?

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Eagle Eye podcast: Which coaches are on the hot seat?

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Eagle Eye podcast: Which coaches are on the hot seat?

On the latest Eagle Eye podcast presented by Nissan, Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro react to Doug Pederson’s comments about coaching staff accountability and go through his roster of coaches. 

Kamu Grugier-Hill has a concussion. Mack Hollins is gone. Jordan Howard still isn’t cleared for contact and the team hasn’t been the same without him.

And the Eagles do have a game this week! 

• Marken Michel is back and Dave is happy 
• Kamu Grugier-Hill has a concussion 
• Doug says he’ll hold coaches accountable 
• Which coaches might not be back?
• Mack Hollins gets cut 
• A lot of big contributors have gotten cut
• Eagles really miss Jordan Howard 
• Miles Sanders and Saquon Barkley 
• At least one more game vs. Eli 

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