jeff lurie

Eagles reschedule 3rd annual Eagles Autism Challenge

Eagles reschedule 3rd annual Eagles Autism Challenge

The Eagles Autism Challenge, which was postponed earlier this year, has been rescheduled for Saturday, Sept. 26, the team announced in a press release. 

The third annual Autism Challenge was initially scheduled for May 16 but was postponed because of coronavirus concerns. 

The Eagles, in the release, say that if circumstances prevent an in-person event on Sept. 26, it will move to an all-virtual format. So it sounds like the event will happen on Sept. 26 — either in South Philly or virtually. 

The Eagles host the Bengals at home on Sept. 27 at 1 p.m. 

If the Autism Challenge is able to take place in person, the event will be changed from previous years because of COVID-19. Several events will feature staggered start times, the finish line has been moved from the field to the perimeter of Lincoln Financial Field and the post-ride celebration will be virtual instead of on the field. 

There will also be other precautions taken, including mandatory masks for staff members, hand sanitizer stations and individually-wrapped food and beverages. 

The team says any additional safety precautions will be communicated to participants before the date of the event. 

“While the overall Eagles Autism Challenge experience that we have all grown accustomed to over the years will look a little different in September, our commitment to the autism community and dedication to funding the most innovative autism research will not change,” Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said in a statement. 

“Like many in our communities, families and individuals with autism have been deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. They need our support now more than ever. As we turn to Saturday, September 26, we look forward to providing a safe environment for all participants and celebrating yet another transformational day with everyone.”

Since its start in 2018, the Eagles Autism Challenge has become the Eagles’ signature fundraising event. Since 2018, it has raised over $9 million for autism research and programs. 

Last year’s event had about 4,000 participants and raised over $3.3 million. 

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What we've learned the past week about the Eagles

What we've learned the past week about the Eagles

I was really struck by something Nick Foles wrote the other day in his powerful and heartfelt message explaining his feelings following the death of George Floyd.

And even though Nick isn't an Eagle these days, I think his message really helps define what's truly special about this franchise.

"My favorite part of playing football has not been winning a Super Bowl or running the Philly Special," Foles tweeted out. "It has been to glorify God and to play with men from all different backgrounds and races. Men come together to achieve the common goal of winning games no matter what their background. To do that, they must love one another, genuinely. It becomes a real brotherhood. I have been a part of some special teams. The special teams did not always have the best playbook, but they did have the strongest brotherhood."

I think we all understand what teams Nick is talking about.

This is a special place. This is a special franchise. And it didn't just happen by accident.

It's easy to scoff at Howie Roseman when he talks about bringing in character guys. And it's easy to dismiss Jeff Lurie as a billionaire who's only interested in making money. 

But Lurie is a community-minded owner who's created a culture where people genuinely respect each other, where doors are always open if there are conflicts, where communication and dialogue and understanding are paramount.

And Roseman has for the most part brought in players who fit that culture. And generally, if you're wondering why the Eagles haven't signed some guy who made a bunch of Pro Bowls or why they've cut ties with a productive player seemingly in his prime, it's because of fit.

And it's pretty clear after four years of watching Doug Pederson that his greatest strength is his ability to inspire 53 men not just to play football at the highest level but to be good people.

To care about each other and listen to each other and understand each other.

Which is what Foles was getting at. 

That 2017 team was very good but it wasn't the most talented team we've ever seen around here. But the togetherness and unity and trust was off the charts. 

And I think we're really seeing the exact same thing right now.

Man, you listen to Jason Kelce, Carson Wentz, Zach Ertz and DeSean Jackson, and maybe I'm naive or overly idealistic, but I get a real sense of people who want to make a difference and genuinely care about each other.

You can't have two more different people than Jason Kelce and DeSean Jackson. 

A burly, white offensive lineman from Cleveland who plays Jack Johnson on the guitar and a speedy African American receiver from Los Angeles who blasts hip-hop in the locker room.

But to hear Kelce talk about how DeSean inspired him to open up and speak about racism, and then to hear DeSean speak about how much that meant to him, this is meaningful and this is real and this is inspiring.

The more athletes and celebrities who use their platform to influence and educate and demand change the more we have a chance to move beyond the racism, homophobia, bigotry and sexism that are so prevalent in our society.

Talking about winning football games seems irrelevant in the big picture right now, but there's no question that a team that has unity and respect and understanding in the locker room is going to be better equipped to withstand the challenges of a football season.

But this is about more than that.

This is a franchise that's easy to be proud of not just because of how many games they win but because of what they're all about as people.

And anybody who still believes athletes can't make a difference just hasn't been paying attention.

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Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie 'repulsed' by injustice, vows to use platform for change

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie 'repulsed' by injustice, vows to use platform for change

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie released a lengthy statement on Tuesday afternoon, saying he is “heartbroken” and “repulsed” by the injustices the black community has to endure and also vowed to use his platform to effect change. 

Lurie, who has been one of the more socially responsible owners in the NFL, had been silent since the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota last week. 

During a team meeting on Monday, Lurie addressed the entire Eagles organization and then released the following statement on Tuesday, via the Eagles’ Twitter account.

Back in 2018, the Eagles formed the Eagles Social Justice Fund to “provide grants to organizations that work to reduce barriers to equal opportunity, with a specific focus on education, community and police relations, improving the criminal justice system, and other initiatives targeting poverty, racial equality, and workforce development in the Greater Philadelphia area.”

As of December 2019, that fund provided local organizations with $858,000 in funding. 

In Lurie’s statement Tuesday, he said he’s dedicated to committing more resources to organizations working on reform. 

“It is our shared responsibility to address the pain and combat systemic racism,” Lurie said. “There is so much we can all do to improve our unequal system of justice, our schools and our communities. This is a time for leadership. A time for us to be united in action.”

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