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Eagles fans need to lighten up

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Eagles fans need to lighten up

In the words of Aaron Rodgers, here are five letters for Eagles nation: R-E-L-A-X.

Relax. The Eagles are going to be OK.

You might not think so listening to all the pouting and hand-wringing and hating and full-on panic.

Waah, the Eagles aren’t getting the receiver I want! Tsk-tsk, Carson Wentz needs to be more careful! Boo, Jim Schwartz’s defense is a disgrace! OMG, they lost to Ryan Fitzpatrick and the friggin’ Bucs!

Yes, the Eagles lost to the Buccaneers, one of the hottest teams in the NFL, in Tampa, one of the hottest places on earth, with half their offense out with injuries. That gives them a 1-1 record in 2018, the same exact mark as this time last season — when, as you may recall, they went on to win the Super Bowl.

Circumstances obviously have changed, but the mindset in Philadelphia apparently has not.

The Eagles still need every Dez Bryant, Josh Gordon and Antonio Brown who can play wide receiver. Fans still have no problem going at a guy like Jalen Mills on social media less than eight months after he did his part to bring a championship to the city. Everybody and their mother will still weigh in on what Wentz should and shouldn’t do on a football field even after a team of doctors say he’s 100 percent.

Take a chill pill, folks. The offense needs a receiver, but a veteran like Jordan Matthews who knows the offense will do for a week or two until Alshon Jeffery returns. The defense could be better, but Schwartz’s unit has been almost solely responsible for wins in the past. Wentz has the green light of medical professionals, which is all that matters.

There’s scrutiny, and then there’s straight-up whining. The first few months of the Eagles’ title defense hasn’t gone precisely to plan, so some people have chosen the latter.

Signing Dez or trading for Gordon may have moved the Eagles closer to another Super Bowl — may — but signing Jordan Matthews — and maybe Jeremy Maclin — instead doesn’t put them any further away.

Schwartz and Mills were good enough that both were able to hoist the Lombardi Trophy eight months prior to the beginning of the season, so it wouldn’t be wise to count either out just yet.

As for Wentz’s health, football is a contact sport and he’s an athlete — the type who makes everybody better around him. Something tells me once he’s out there converting third downs and scoring touchdowns, a lot of the other questions are going to disappear.

Wentz won’t say it, but I will. Relax. The Eagles’ quarterback, Doug Pederson and the rest of the coaching staff and the front office led by Howie Roseman are going to be OK.

That doesn’t mean they’re going to repeat. That doesn't mean they won't. Either way, Week 3 is simply much too early to jump off the bandwagon.

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Bryce Harper meets some Philly sports legends at the Sixers game

Bryce Harper meets some Philly sports legends at the Sixers game

The new big man in town, Bryce Harper, went to the Wells Fargo Center on Thursday night to take in the Sixers game against the Milwaukee Bucks. He rubbed shoulders with some of the previous biggest (little) men in town.

Harper was in attendance and rang the bell prior to tip-off — something he'll surely do many times during Phillies games across the street this summer.

When Harper made his way to his seat in a suite, he was seated alongside Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz. Rhys Hoskins was also in the suite as were all of the aforementioned players' significant others. Talk about some serious Philly sports firepower right there.

And then later in the game, the Sixers shared an image of a couple of legendary No. 3s meeting in the bowels of the Center. I'd love to hear the conversation between Allen Iverson and Harper.

Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery was also in the building, sitting a bit closer to the court. Rapper Meek Mill was also in the building and took a photo with A.I. Which got me wondering: What's the perfect storm of Philly sports stardom in a Rat Pack sort of way? Obviously you had Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid on the court last night. In terms of the Flyers, aside from Gritty, you'd have to go Claude Giroux or maybe a fun-loving guy like Scott Hartnell from years past? Recently retired players that could fit the bill from other teams would have to include Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and maybe Pat Burrell just for fun. Is anyone in recent Eagles memory a bigger name than Brian Dawkins? He'd fill the fedora quotient. Nick Foles could be fun in a clean and wholesome sort of way.

My Philly sports Rat Pack would consist of A.I., Simmons, Embiid, Kendall Jenner, Wentz, Jason Kelce and Gritty. We got a good portion of that in the building last night.

Who is in your Philly sports Rat Pack?

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

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Nationals fans don’t get to be mad at Bryce Harper

Nationals fans don’t get to be mad at Bryce Harper

They can boo him. They can even hate him. But there’s absolutely no way Washington Nationals fans can fault Bryce Harper.

Sportswriters instructed Nats fans not to show up to the stadium unless they plan to boo Harper. Metro TV personalities smashed a pinata with the six-time All-Star’s photograph. Fans destroyed their No. 34 jerseys and showed up to the ballpark with signs that read “traitor.” The mayor of Washington D.C. took to social media to compare a baseball player to Benedict Arnold.

And yet, on Monday it was revealed in The Washington Post that the Nationals didn't just offer Harper less money and fewer years than the Phillies. The structure of the 10-year, $300 million contract proposed in September would’ve deferred payment on $100 million – 33 percent of the total value – until 2052. Then, in January, the club followed up with an even worse deal: 12 years, $250 million that wouldn’t be fully paid until the year 2072.

Harper would be 79 in 2072, assuming he lived that long.

There’s loyalty and hometown discounts. Then there’s situations that just don’t make sense.

Now seems like a good time to point out the Nationals are owned by Ted Lerner, whose own net worth is estimated to be in the multi billions. The team has done pretty well for itself at the gate, finishing 11th in Major League Baseball in average attendance in 2018 despite some of the highest ticket prices in the game. And while the TV contract is in dispute, the organization will eventually claim hundreds of millions of dollars in right fees dating back to 2012.

The money was there. Even without Harper, the Nationals have the seventh-largest payroll in baseball this season – never mind management’s inability to construct a winning team with that checkbook.

Why is this coming back on the player?

It’s one thing for fans to suggest a professional athlete should consider taking less money. It’s quite another to argue the athlete should sign a contract where a sizable portion of the cash might be paid when he’s living in a nursing home.

On some level, this is all reminiscent of when Jayson Werth pulled a reverse-Harper and left the Phillies to sign with the NL East rival Nationals in in 2011. The Phillies chose to allocate finances in such a way the club decided it would only retain Werth for below-market value, so he left. Fans weren’t happy, and he was booed every time he came to town.

But Werth wasn’t a generational talent. He was a cog, people ultimately understood he got a better deal, plus letting him go meant the Phillies could re-sign Cliff Lee, for example.

The Nationals let the face of baseball leave D.C. without a serious offer, and all they got was the money to sign Patrick Corbin.

Hey, it happens, and Nats fans should boo Harper for all 13 years in red pinstripes, the same as any Philly fan would in their shoes.

Just don’t cry Harper is a traitor. He’s in a Phils uniform because the Nationals screwed up, and the only place fingers need to be pointed is directly at the front office.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

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