Temple football

Temple LBs and roommates in heated competition for combine supremacy

Temple LBs and roommates in heated competition for combine supremacy

Temple linebackers Shaun Bradley and Chapelle Russell know they will have a ton on the line Saturday when their position group gets on the field for drills at the NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. 

Their football careers hang in the balance. 

Not to mention bragging rights. 

Throughout the last few months, the two close friends have been in a heated competition and back-and-forth trash talk battle. Bradley was training with EXOS in Phoenix; Russell was training with EXOS in San Diego. The whole time, they kept texting each other performance numbers and egging each other on. 

That competition reached a new level this week when the two found out they were rooming together in Indianapolis. 

“That’s all we do. We sit in the room and talk about who’s going to win the 40, who’s going to have the fastest (time),” Bradley said. “We do it all day. It’s nonstop. We’ll joke, we’ll talk about it. As soon as one thing hits, he’s like, ‘I’m about to run a faster 40 than you.’ ‘No you’re not.’ Back and forth, back and forth.”

At Temple, the pair of starting linebackers lived together in a house on campus, so it’s a familiar feeling to be together this week at the combine. And in such a high-pressure situation, with so much on the line, it’s comforting for both to go through it all with a close friend. 

Bradley and Russell will be rooting for each other on Saturday but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to outperform each other.  

“It’s been cool,” Russell said. “We always talk trash with each other about who’s faster, who’s going to do this, who’s going to do that. The competition between us two has been intense so I can’t even imagine what it’s going to be like when we get out there Saturday.” 

There are plenty of similarities between the two. 

- Russell is listed at 6-foot-2, 236 pounds. Bradley is listed at 6-foot-1, 235 pounds. 

- Both feel like they have gotten bigger, stronger and faster over the last couple of months. 

- Both are from New Jersey (Bradley from Mount Holly, Russell from Lakewood). Both became huge parts of Temple’s defense and were awarded single-digit numbers (Bradley got 5, Russell got 3) — an honor for the nine toughest Owls on the roster — in 2018. 

- Both put up big numbers in 2019. Bradley led the Owls with 86 tackles and Russell was second with 72. Bradley had 8 tackles for loss; Russell had 8 1/2. 

- And both feel like they have plenty to prove this week. 

While there are some big-name linebacker prospects in Indianapolis this week, the two Temple linebackers aren’t considered to be in that class. During their interview sessions on Thursday, while the big-name players spoke at podiums, Russell, Bradley and the less highly regarded prospects were crammed in the corner of the room at little round tables. 

“I think we’re going to open a lot of eyes,” Russell said. “…  I feel like when we go out there Saturday, we’re going to prove a lot of people wrong.”

Bradley and Russell both said the Eagles were one of the first teams to meet with them this week and each would love the opportunity to stay in Philly and continue to play home games at Lincoln Financial Field. It’s something the Eagles brought up to them in their respective interviews. 

Continuing their football careers in Philly would mean a lot to both men. For Bradley, it would allow him to stay close to home, where his family — including his four siblings, all 13 or younger — would be able to watch him play. 

Bradley joked the one problem he might have if he became an Eagle is remembering to go to the Birds’ locker room at the Linc and not to the Owls’ locker room farther down the hallway.  

But each guy basically said the same thing about the Eagles. 

“If Philly wanted to draft me, I’d be all for it,” Russell said. 

In recent months, Bradley and Russell have been in contact with several former Temple players who have already been through this pre-draft process. Since 2016, there have been 11 Owls drafted — 1 in the first, 2 in the second, 1 in the fourth, 3 in the fifth, one in the sixth and three in the 7th. 

A good showing from either Bradley or Russell on Saturday would go a long way in adding one of them to that list. 

Oh yeah, and one of them will earn those bragging rights too. 

“I’m pretty sure it’s going to be me,” Russell said. “But that’s the competition between me and him. He’ll say him, and I’ll say me.”

We’ll find out soon enough. 

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Former Temple coach Matt Rhule selling sprawling estate for $2.5 million

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Realtor.com

Former Temple coach Matt Rhule selling sprawling estate for $2.5 million

It's a big month for Philly-connected college coaches and real estate. 

Former Temple football coach and current Carolina Panthers coach Matt Rhule is selling his very nice Waco, Texas estate for $2.5 million, according to the Charlotte Business Journal.

The listing news comes just days after rumblings emerged of Villanova's Jay Wright listing his Berwyn home for a similar price.

Rhule's house going up for sale, of course, is a little more self-explanatory: he just landed a new job in Charlotte, with a mind-boggling seven-year deal, meaning he has no longer has any reason to hold on to Texas real estate.

The house itself holds up plenty of axioms about Texas culture: full of wooden bannisters and exposed brick, and laid out over a sprawling 8,150 square feet, everything truly is bigger (and more rustic) in that state.

The main house comes with five bedrooms, five full bathrooms, a commercial-grade kitchen, a temperature-controlled wine cellar, and... an elevator.

An elevator.

The rest of the 5.53-acre estate includes 3,000 square feet of covered exterior space, an in-ground pool, a basketball court, and a gym.

Here's a look through some highlights:

Temple football extends contract with Eagles to continue playing at Lincoln Financial Field

Temple football extends contract with Eagles to continue playing at Lincoln Financial Field

Temple, one of only four college football teams to play all its home games in an NFL stadium, extended its contract with the Eagles another five years on Monday.

Terms of the deal were not announced, but a story in the Temple News in 2016 reported that Temple University leased the Linc for $1 million per year but said school officials expected the price to increase to $3 million per year under terms of a new contract.

Temple, which has played its home games at the Linc since 2003, will continue to play at the Eagles' stadium through 2024, according to terms of a contract extension the Eagles announced.

The deal includes a five-year option, although a press release from the Eagles doesn't specify which party holds the option. Presumably, Temple officials can exercise the option through 2029 if efforts to build an on-campus stadium do not pan out over the next five years or get out of the deal with the Eagles after the 2024 season if they're able to get a stadium built.

Temple's original lease with the Eagles ran through 2017 but both sides agreed to extend it two years while Temple unsuccessfully explored building an on-campus stadium. That extension expired after the 2019 season, so until now the Owls did not officially have a home for their 2020 games.

The Owls play either six or seven home games per year. They have seven scheduled for 2020.

According to The Temple News, Temple does not receive any portion of parking revenue from its home football games but does get 10 percent of concessions. 

This contract extension was announced only about seven months before Temple's 2020 home opener, scheduled for Sept. 12 against Idaho.

Temple's average announced attendance in 2018, the last year the NCAA has data for, was 28,470. During the five-year span from 2014 through 2018 the Owls averaged 30,108 and ranked 75th out of 130 FBS programs.

Capacity at the Linc is 69,176, so the stadium has been about 44 percent full over the last five years for Temple football games.

The only other college football programs to play all their home games in an NFL stadium are Miami at the Dolphins' Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens; Pitt at the Steelers' Heinz Field in Pittsburgh; and South Florida at the Buccaneers' Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.

Temple is 54-46 at the Linc since it opened in 2003 and 24-8 over the last five years. The Owls have played in a bowl game in each of the last five years.

"We are pleased to extend our agreement with Temple University," Eagles president Don Smolenski said in a statement. "We have enjoyed a great relationship for the past 17 seasons, as our staffs have worked together to make Lincoln Financial Field the home for Temple football. We look forward to continuing that tradition into the future."

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