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Marcus Smith got kind of a raw deal with Eagles

Marcus Smith got kind of a raw deal with Eagles

As we reflect on the biggest draft busts in Eagles history, let’s remember Marcus Smith was almost unanimously considered a reach at the time he was selected No. 26 overall in 2014. Maybe the expectations typically bestowed upon a first-round pick were never entirely fair in the first place.

When we look back at his Eagles career, let’s not forget injuries necessitated Smith move from outside linebacker to inside linebacker just a few weeks into his rookie season, then back again. Nor did Chip Kelly see fit to put Smith on the field in the first place, let alone suit up for half the season. You mean to tell me there was nothing the NFL’s 28th-ranked defense could do with all that athleticism?

Let’s also keep in mind Smith actually showed signs of life under Jim Schwartz in 2016. Of the 61 defensive ends in 4-3 schemes with at least 100 pass-rush opportunities, Smith ranked 43rd in pass-rush productivity, according to Pro Football Focus. He was not completely useless when given an opportunity.

None of which is to say the Eagles made a mistake in releasing Smith on Thursday. Aside from not being very good, he was somebody who clearly didn’t “get it,” too. That was never more evident when he skipped voluntary OTAs this past spring, then explained, “I don’t feel like I missed anything.”

Only the fight for his job.

Smith essentially vacated his roster spot with that decision after managing only 23 tackles and 4.0 sacks in his first three seasons with the Eagles. Nobody needs to feel particularly sorry for a person whose actions suggested he didn’t really want to be here.

It’s not like Smith was ever destined for stardom, either. That much was apparent just watching highlights from his 16.0-sack senior season at Louisville, often coming off the edge untouched against the likes of Rutgers, UConn and Florida International. He was AAC Defensive Player of the Year, not ACC.

Still, I can’t help but wonder if things might’ve turned out slightly different were he not treated as the child Kelly never really wanted from the get-go. Having the chance to learn and play one position – or just to play at all early in his career – could’ve gone a long way. There’s little doubt Smith’s development was stunted at least somewhat by the previous coaching staff.

Perhaps things even would’ve been different for Smith has he simply not been taken in the first round. We’ll never know or understand how much the intense scrutiny contributed to his demeanor, which much like his play on the field, left a lot to be desired.

With all of that in mind, it’s not very difficult to imagine Smith catching on somewhere else and making an impact as a situational pass rusher this season. He’s only 25, packs sub-4.7 speed into a 6-3, 265-pound frame, and once Schwartz simplified the defense and turned him loose at defensive end last season, we saw a marked difference in his performance. Albeit, his performance was still replacement level, but that was a drastic improvement over non-existent.

Should Smith experience even a modicum of success in the NFL, maybe all of the what-ifs from his time with the Eagles will finally be taken seriously. Until then, I doubt too many people really care whether one of the greatest draft busts in franchise history may have got a bit of a raw deal.

Smith also could've been a bust regardless of where he was drafted or how coaches cultivated his talent. Regardless, the Eagles also set him up to fail.

Joel Embiid attempts bicycle kick at neighborhood soccer game in Cameroon

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Drew Hanlen/NBC Sports

Joel Embiid attempts bicycle kick at neighborhood soccer game in Cameroon

One of my favorite Brett Brown quotes about Joel Embiid from a few years ago is that he's "Shaquille (O'Neal) with soccer feet."

We've seen Embiid show off those soccer skills he developed as a youngster in Cameroon long before he ever picked up a basketball.

But Embiid put together two of his favorite pastimes over the weekend for one amazing video: soccer and crashing a local pickup game.

Embiid has become rather infamous in the Philly area for crashing random people's pickup games at local playgrounds. So when he traveled to Africa recently to play in the NBA Africa Game and the locals there tend to play futbol, Embiid joined in their festive games.

Footage has appeared on the Internet of Embiid playing with some locals in his native Cameroon. It's as cool as you'd expect, except for this one move Jojo attempts to pull off ...

One of Embiid's trainers for the summer, Drew Hanlen, took time away from fixing Markelle Fultz's shot to play some footie with him at the neighborhood game and shared the footage to his Instagram.

Now, there is perhaps no person in professional sports I find more likeable than Joel Embiid. He's got a rare combination of elite skill and an incredible personality that makes him easy to root for in Philadelphia. All of that said, Jo, buddy, what in the world are you doing attempting a bicycle kick? Perhaps he's got elite soccer skill and he can attempt a bicycle kick with ease. But he can't defy gravity. That 7-foot-2 body has to come back down and land on earth. Please be safe while you're having fun out there. The city of Philly needs you.

Good effort though. Think he's playing too many soccer video games TBH.

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Brawl breaks out during Washington Redskins-New York Jets joint practice

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Brawl breaks out during Washington Redskins-New York Jets joint practice

The Eagles are Super Bowl champions and other teams are fighting for their throne, literally.

The New York Jets and the Washington Redskins held a joint practice today and a melee broke out that spilled into the spectator areas where fans were watching practice.

Reporters were not allowed to record video during this time, but fans captured this surreal moment between two NFL teams.

Details at the time of writing were scarce, but it according to Michael Phillips of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Redskins offensive tackle Morgan Moses went down on a late hit from Jets CB Trumaine Johnson, which started a brawl that involved more than 30 players and spilled into an area where fans were watching practice.

Phillips also reports that two fans began fighting and had to be separated by police.

We’ll update this story once more details become available.

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