Sheldon Brown

Hey Reggie Bush, YOU'VE GOT THE WRONG EAGLES CORNERBACK!

Hey Reggie Bush, YOU'VE GOT THE WRONG EAGLES CORNERBACK!

Reggie Bush vividly remembers every detail of the hardest hit he ever took.

Except who hit him.
 
Bush, a co-host of FOX Sports’ College Game Day, was asked on Monday’s show by a Twitter viewer what was the hardest he was ever hit during his 11-year NFL career.
 
Every Eagles fan knows the answer to that question. 
 
My hardest hit is well-documented,” Bush said. “You can probably go look it up on YouTube right now. It happened in 2006 in the NFC Championship Game, and we’re taking about quarterbacks leading their receivers into bad throws, and the great Drew Brees almost got my head tooken off. Well, he did get my head tooken off. Thankfully I’m here to live and tell about it. It was a very interesting experience. I would not recommend it for the average person and I’m lucky to be alive. It was Lito Sheppard.”
 
OK, first of all, it wasn’t the NFC Championship Game, it was the conference semifinal round a week earlier.
 
But … LITO SHEPPARD?????
 
Reggie, does the name SHELDON BROWN RING A BELL?
 
With all due respect to Lito, who was a Pro Bowler that year and spent seven years playing cornerback alongside Brown, let’s just say he wasn’t exactly the type to unleash thunderous hits on anybody.
 
Lito was the speedy corner who loved to jump routes, Brown was the physical guy who could cover but loved to support the run and deliver big hits.
 
And actually, Sheppard didn’t even play in that Saints game. He suffered a dislocated elbow a week earlier in the playoff win over the Giants and didn’t dress.

Even though the Eagles lost that game 27-24, Brown’s hit on Bush made the cover of Sports Illustrated.
  
“That was a beastly, beastly hit,” Brian Dawkins said in the book, The 50 Greatest Plays in Eagles History, co-written by yours truly with long-time Eagles writer Mark Eckel. “He just demolished him. It may have been the hardest hit I ever saw.”
 
Brown's hit came on the second play of the game, and Bush, after getting laid out, missed just one snap before returning to the game.

"I couldn't believe he came back in," Eagles radio analyst Mike Quick said in The 50 Greatest Plays in Eagles History. "I would have taken my ball and gone home. And nobody would have complained if I did."

Bush wound up rushing for 52 yards and a TD and catching three passes, all after the Brown hit.
 
Today, he wouldn’t have been allowed back in the game.
 
What did it feel like?
 
“Cancel Christmas, cancel all the holidays, it was bad,” Bush said Monday. “I remember laying on the field, and it wasn’t the hit that initially put me down, it was when my back hit the ground. It knocked the wind out of my stomach. For anybody who’s ever had the wind knocked out of them, it’s probably the closest experience to dying without dying. And it was very painful. I remember looking up into the stands, started going blurry, I was gasping for air. People were trying to talk to me, I couldn’t hear anything. I was just trying to breathe.”
 
Brown said years later in The 50 Greatest Plays in Eagles History that thanks to film study, he knew what play was coming, so he was able to time his hit on Bush perfectly.
 
“I was thinking, ‘Oh my God, this is exactly how it looked in practice,” he said. “You don’t see that happen too often.”

More on the Eagles

Compiling most beloved Eagles team of last 20 years

Compiling most beloved Eagles team of last 20 years

It’s Valentine’s Day, so let’s get a little lovey-dovey with the Eagles. 

Looking back at the last 20 years, I wanted to put together an Eagles team with the most beloved players of the generation. I went back to the 1999 season, the first under Andy Reid for this list. So when you’re frantically searching for Reggie White or Randall, that’s why they’re not there. 

Now, a lot of the time, it’s pretty simple: The best player is the most loved by fans. But that’s not always the case. 

Here’s a look at the team I put together. If you have an addition or subtraction, leave it below: 

QB: Nick Foles 
It’s amazing to think that Foles nearly retired a couple years before he led the Eagles to their first Super Bowl win and took home the MVP trophy. But since he did that, he’s going to be a legend in this town forever. Many still think Donovan McNabb is the greatest QB in team history, but he was never universally loved the way Foles is right now. And I expect Carson Wentz to be a great quarterback, but it’s hard to imagine this love affair between city and player ever being duplicated. 

RB: Brian Westbrook 
This was a tough one because LeSean McCoy is the best running back in franchise history, but that’s not what this list is. When we talk about the most-beloved players, Westbrook is atop the list. He had a tremendous career as an undersized back out of Villanova, which only helped fans fall in love with him. 

WR: Alshon Jeffery 
No, Alshon hasn’t been here for long, but he helped the Eagles win a Super Bowl and played all of that season with a torn rotator cuff. He also consistently told everyone they were going to win. It became clear how much fans love him when after Alshon dropped a ball in these last playoffs, many of them rushed to his defense. T.O. is probably the most talented receiver we’ve had in town over the last 20 years, but he was as divisive as he was great. 

WR: Rotating cast of training camp guys 
This is kind of a cop out, but I wasn’t going to go through this list without a nod to the annual love affair with a relatively unknown wide receiver. From Na Brown to Paul Turner to Rasheed Bailey, these guys become huge stories in August, but never really have much of an impact when the games matter. 

TE: Brent Celek 
Zach Ertz is the better player, but everyone loves Celek. He missed just one game in 11 seasons and retired a champion. He sort of embodied that blue collar work ethic we all want from our athletes in this city. 

FB: Leonard Weaver 
Big Weave really only played one season with the Eagles before an ACL injury ended his career, but it was a great year. He was an All-Pro, but more importantly, he immediately connected with fans. Hard to be a fan favorite in one season, but Weaver did that. 

LT: Jason Peters 
This came down to Tra Thomas or Peters, but I gave the nod to JP. Although plenty of fans were frustrated by Peters’ nagging injuries this past season, the period of time when he became The Bodyguard was pretty cool. How many offensive linemen get fans to wear t-shirts with their nicknames? 

LG: Evan Mathis 
Things got contentious between Mathis and the organization at the end of his run, but he was a Pro Bowl left guard and was a really affable guy. For fans on Twitter, Mathis became a must follow for his jokes and wit. 

C: Jason Kelce
Yeah, he happens to be the best center in the NFL, but even if he wasn’t, he’s on this list. We all saw the speech. 

RG: Brandon Brooks 
I thought about giving this spot to Todd Herremans, who played a bunch of different positions, but I have to give the edge to Brooks, who is a part of the Super Bowl team and immediately became accepted in Philly. For those of you on Twitter, you’ll remember when Brooks got to town and slowly learned about Broad Street and Wawa. 

RT: Jon Runyan 
If Runyan played anywhere else, Eagles fans would have probably hated him. And it’s pretty funny he’s in charge of rule enforcement in the NFL because he didn’t have a pristine reputation. But he was a tough dude and played nine seasons with the Eagles and didn’t miss a game. 

DE: Hugh Douglas 
He didn’t have a particularly long career in Philly, but Hugh was jolly and funny and definitely connected with the fanbase. It should come as no surprise that Douglas has been working in sports media since his career ended in 2005. 

DT: Hollis Thomas 
Tank spent 10 seasons with the Eagles and parlayed his popularity into a career with WIP in his post-football days. 

DT: Fletcher Cox
It actually feels like Cox’s popularity hasn’t quite caught up to his level of play. Because he’s an All-Pro, one of the best defensive players in the league and it still feels like he’s not as beloved as other players. But if he keeps playing like this, fans are gonna love him forever. 

DE: Trent Cole
The lasting image of Cole in Philly will be his archery sack celebration that we saw plenty of times during his career with the Eagles. 

LB: Jeremiah Trotter 
The Axe Man! Trotter became a Pro Bowl linebacker, went to Washington for two years and then came back and became a Pro Bowler again. Then after one year in Tampa Bay, he came back for one more season. That’s three different stints with the Eagles and he was a fan favorite for a decade. 

LB: DeMeco Ryans 
Mufasa came in before Andy Reid’s last year and then became a favorite during the Chip Kelly seasons. The Eagles released him after the 2015 season, ending his NFL career, but he was a bright spot on a defense without a ton. 

LB: Connor Barwin 
I’m cheating a little bit because Barwin was an edge rusher in a 3-4 and then played DE in 2016, but he needs to be on this list. Few athletes go to a new town and immediately immerse themselves as quickly as Barwin did. He’s still raising money for parks in the city. 

CB: Troy Vincent 
Vincent came to the Eagles in 1996, but from 1999-2003 he was a Pro Bowler. He was so good for so long. He’s arguably the best free agent pickup in franchise history. 

CB: Sheldon Brown 
Lito Sheppard and Asante Samuel were better players, but Brown was known to get a huge hit here or there. His hit on Reggie Bush will always be remembered. 

S: Malcolm Jenkins 
I didn’t know whether or not to put Jenkins on this list because he was slightly divisive for a while simply because of his anthem protests; some people simply want their football players to play football. But I’m not leaving him off because of that. When we look back at Jenkins in 10 years, he’ll be thought of as one of the greatest players in franchise history and a guy who helped bring a Super Bowl to Philly. 

S: Brian Dawkins 
I don’t think I need to say much here. We get it. 

K: David Akers
Not exactly a ton of competition. Maybe Jake Elliott will eventually overtake him, but he’s got a long way to go. 

LS: Jon Dorenbos
Dorenbos has to be the most beloved long snapper in NFL history. He’s already well on his way to an impressive post-NFL gig and has been wowing again on America’s Got Talent. How many fan bases even know the name of their long snapper? 

P: Donnie Jones 
He’s the best punter in franchise history, but he was also a really likable guy too. Jones never took himself too seriously. 

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More on the Eagles

Budding friendship could help Rasul Douglas and Sidney Jones become Lito and Sheldon

Budding friendship could help Rasul Douglas and Sidney Jones become Lito and Sheldon

It's likely no accident that when Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas walked into the Eagles' locker room for the first time last week, their stalls were right next to each other. 

The Eagles hope they're together for a really long time. 

"We want to build a defense and build a team that can stick together over a period of time," Eagles vice president of football operations Howie Roseman said during the draft, "and hopefully this is a first step toward doing that."

Jones, the Eagles' second-round pick, and Douglas, their third, first met in Indianapolis in early March. Both were coming off good 2016 seasons and were considered two of the top cornerback prospects in a draft class full of them. 

They hit it off instantly, chatting between on-field drills. They took turns asking each other how they looked in backpedals and asking each other if they looked smooth during the drills. They met, traded tips and then went their separate ways. 

It was just over a week later when the next event in a series of events that reunited them happened. Jones, considered by some to be the very best corner in the draft, tore his left Achilles tendon at Washington's pro day. The injury dropped him out of the first round and into the Eagles' lap at pick 43 of the second round. 

Fifty-six picks later, the Eagles took Douglas out of West Virginia. And for the first time since 2002, the Eagles had picked two cornerbacks in the first three rounds of the draft. 

Now, they just hope Jones and Douglas will become as productive as Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown once were. 

And it might start with having that same type of close relationship. 

Upon their arrival to Philadelphia for rookie minicamp last week, Jones and Douglas picked up where they left off, growing their relationship. Obviously, Jones has been relegated to a spectator, but that just means they have different roles for now. 

Their budding friendship might end up being important for the growth of each individual. 

"We're just going to help each other out throughout this whole process," Jones said Friday. "If I miss something, he's going to help me. I've asked him a whole bunch of questions already. 

"And he's asking me to watch him on the field and see what he can get better on and I'm trying to critique him. It's just a good process for both of us to learn from each other." 

Jones admitted he's not a patient person and it burned him inside a little bit having to watch practice Friday (see story). He won't get the walking boot on his left leg removed until May 21, and even after that, it's a long road to recovery. 

With Jones out, and with minimal depth at the position, Douglas seemingly has a really good shot of earning playing time and perhaps even becoming a starter as a rookie (see story). So he'll take any tips he can get, especially from Jones. 

"We were just talking," Douglas said Friday, sitting at his locker as Jones sat next to him, staring at his phone, but also likely listening.

"I was asking him what he was seeing on the sideline from me. And how was I on top of the routes and stuff? And he was telling me what he saw. Pretty sure we'll watch film together. I'll catch him up on some of the tips that Coach gave us today at practice while he was at rehab."

The Eagles think Jones and Douglas have complementary skill sets — Jones is the speedier, quicker guy and Douglas is bigger and longer — that could make them a strong duo for the next several years.  

"And when you talk about the receivers in our division, in our conference, (you want) guys who can cover the quicker-twitch receivers and the guys who can take the big strong receivers that we face," Roseman said. 

It's going to take some time before Jones and Douglas are on the field together. There's no timetable for Jones' recovery and it seems possible this will end up being a redshirt season for the 20-year-old. 

But drafting two corners in the first three rounds wasn't about a quick fix. It was about growing the defense behind two talented corners who can help each other become the answer to the biggest question mark position that has stumped the Eagles for years. 

"He's a terrific player," Jones said of Douglas. "Me and him have been kind of close in this short amount of time, getting to know each other. That's going to be my guy for the next four years and more."