post

Chicago Bears place right guard Kyle Long on injured reserve


The Chicago Bears placed right guard Kyle Long on injured reserve the team announced Saturday.

The three-time Pro Bowl lineman has a tendon injury to his right foot.

Long was hurt in the closing minutes of the Bears’ 24-10 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday. Tight end Dion Sims rolled into him while the two were blocking for Jordan Howard on a run.

The injury to Long leaves the NFC North-leading Bears (4-3) in a painful and familiar spot with him as they get ready to visit the Buffalo Bills (2-6). Chicago also could be without star pass-rusher Khalil Mack (right ankle) and No. 1 receiver Allen Robinson (groin) again. The two missed the win over the Jets.



Source link

post

Chicago Bears might place Kyle Long on injured reserve foot injury


LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Chicago Bears right guard Kyle Long has a tendon injury in his right foot, and the team is deciding whether to put him on injured reserve.

Coach Matt Nagy said Wednesday the three-time Pro Bowl lineman has a boot on his foot and is “week to week.” The Bears are still trying to figure out the “complete extent” of the injury.

Asked if Long has any broken bones, Nagy said, “I’m not going to get into the details of it.” But he added there are “some issues” with a tendon.

The Bears could place Long on IR with the intent to return in eight weeks if they don’t think he could be back sooner.

“Those are decisions we’re going through,” Nagy said. “We’re not there yet. We don’t need to be. Once we get to that point, then we’ll decide what we want to do.”

Long was hurt in the closing minutes of the Bears’ 24-10 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday. Tight end Dion Sims rolled into him while the two were blocking for Jordan Howard on a run.

The injury to Long leaves the NFC North-leading Bears (4-3) in a painful and familiar spot with him as they get ready to visit the Buffalo Bills (2-6). Chicago could also be without star pass rusher Khalil Mack (right ankle) and No. 1 receiver Allen Robinson (groin) again. The two missed the win over the Jets.

The 29-year-old Long made the Pro Bowl his first three seasons after being drafted in the first round in 2013. But he missed eight games in 2016 and six last season after playing in 47 of a possible 48 from 2013 to 2015.

Nagy again said the latest injury was not the same as the severe one to his right ankle in 2016 that required surgery. Long also had operations on his shoulder, elbow and neck after he was shut down last year.

“It’s tough to hear news like that — one of our brothers and other family going down,” quarterback Mitchell Trubisky said. “We’re going to support him all the way and back him up and then it’s next-man-up mentality. We’ve got a lot of depth at the O-line. I feel really comfortable with where we’re at and who’s stepping in there.”

The Bears could move Eric Kush or rookie James Daniels from left guard, where they have shared time. Kush missed the game against the Jets because of a neck injury but is expected to play against Buffalo.

Another option at right guard is Bryan Witzmann. He signed with Chicago three weeks ago and made 13 starts last season for Kansas City while Nagy was the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator.

One scenario that can apparently be ruled out is moving Cody Whitehair from center to guard, a position he has played. Nagy said the Bears haven’t considered that.

“It’s tough to see (Long) go down with the passion that he plays with,” Whitehair said. “We hope for the best for him. I know we’ve got the right guys that will step in for him and give their best.”

With Long out, the line loses not only one of its best blockers, but a team leader.

“He helps me a lot with technique stuff,” Daniels said. “He also (tells me) if there’s a certain look, just be alert for things like that. Both ways, it’s nice to have him around.”

Game notes: Nagy said the Bears will take a similar approach with Mack and Robinson, after both were held out of practice last week on Wednesday and Thursday and limited on Friday.



Source link

post

Philadelphia Eagles’ Chris Long pledging portion of salary to start early-literacy program


PHILADELPHIA — Eagles defensive end Chris Long is pledging a quarter of his 2018 salary to launch the “First Quarter for Literacy” drive to help increase early literacy among young children.

Partnering with the United Way and in support of Philadelphia’s Read By Fourth campaign, the goal is to put more books into the hands of kids in under-served neighborhoods and raise awareness about the direct connection between early-reading proficiency and quality of life over the long term.

“Kids don’t have a choice. Kids don’t pick their parents, they don’t pick their economic background, they don’t pick the neighborhood they grew up in, they don’t pick any of the factors that can hold them back, they don’t pick their school system,” Long said. “So [investing in them], it just feels like you’re doing something productive. … I just feel like this is something where you’re going to see results.”

In Philadelphia, Chris and Megan Long will distribute more than 25,000 books for children in under-served neighborhoods to build at-home libraries, as well as fund the creation of three Chris Long Book Nooks that serve as neighborhood-based reading areas for families. They are encouraging others to donate books by visiting FirstQuarterForLiteracy.org.

Long’s base salary this season is $2.5 million. After taxes, he’ll be committing about $400,000 to the initiative.

This is the second straight year that Long has donated game checks to invest in others’ education. Last season, he used his $1 million salary to provide scholarships for two people in his hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia, and to launch the “Pledge 10 for Tomorrow” campaign, which raised more than $1.75 million for organizations dedicated to promoting educational equity and opportunity in the three cities where Long has played: St. Louis, Boston and Philadelphia.

“I just feel like when you tie in football, which people are crazy about, to a cause that maybe people aren’t as aware of and use your platform to educate people on some of the dire needs we have, you get them excited and they give,” Long said. “That’s what happened last year and hopefully it happens this year.”

The Longs will also match donations up to $25,000 for any player on an opposing road team this year who wants to donate funds to distribute books to communities in their playing market. Long’s former teammate Beau Allen, now playing defensive tackle for the Buccaneers, kicked off the matching portion of the drive by giving $5,000 during Week 2 when the Eagles played Tampa Bay. With the match, The Chris Long Foundation will donate $10,000 worth of books to the Tampa community.

Long was compelled to focus on literacy this year after coming across some overwhelming statistics during his research, which he rattled off during a conversation with ESPN:

• Children who are not reading at grade level by the end of third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school — six times as likely when the children are also born into poverty.

• By age 3, there is a 30-million word gap between children from the wealthiest and the poorest families.

• 34 percent of children entering kindergarten lack the basic language skills needed to learn how to read.

• In 2016 and ’17, almost two-thirds of kids in Philadelphia entered fourth grade unable to read at grade level.

“This is why it ties into social justice, under the umbrella of that topic, because literacy by fourth grade is a big indicator for when a kid is going to drop out of school, and subsequently rates of incarceration. If you go down to some of the most incarcerated states in the country and you look at literacy rates, there is a correlation there,” he said.

“I want people to read the stuff I’m reading and see how dire of a need there is for us to raise the bar here because it’s just a huge indicator. There is a direct correlation between how well a kid is reading by fourth grade and how their life is going to go.”

By partnering with the United Way, there is an arm to this initiative that will help educate parents about how to read to their children, offering better tactics and tools to help accelerate their learning process.

“I hope that it changes parents’ perspectives on how important it is, and how much they should cherish their time with their kids at night, reading 20 minutes a day, and the books that they have,” Long said. “It’s changed things for me.”



Source link

post

New book says Tom Brady long worried about being ‘pushed out’ by Bill Belichick


New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady felt trapped in the offseason and was not sure he wanted to play anymore for the only NFL coach he has ever had, Bill Belichick, according to a new book on Belichick’s life.

“If you’re married 18 years to a grouchy person who gets under your skin and never compliments you, after a while you want to divorce him,” a source with knowledge of the Brady-Belichick relationship told ESPN’s Ian O’Connor, author of “Belichick: The Making of the Greatest Football Coach of All Time,” after the 2017 season.

“Tom knows Bill is the best coach in the league, but he’s had enough of him. If Tom could, I think he would divorce him.”

Based on interviews with 350 people (Belichick did not cooperate), the book, due out Sept. 25, reports Brady was so upset with his coach that he still wasn’t certain in late March if he would return to the Patriots. “But in the end, even if he wanted to, Brady could not walk away from the game, and he could not ask for a trade,” O’Connor wrote. “The moment Belichick moved [Jimmy] Garoppolo to San Francisco, and banked on Brady’s oft-stated desire to play at least into his mid-forties, was the moment Brady was virtually locked into suiting up next season and beyond. Had he retired or requested a trade, he would have risked turning an adoring New England public into an angry mob.”

ESPN’s Seth Wickersham and several Boston outlets had reported on the escalating tension between Brady and Belichick during last season, much of it revolving around the coach’s decision to reduce the team access that had been granted to Alex Guerrero, Brady’s business partner and fitness coach. Belichick was no longer giving his quarterback the most-favored-nation status he’d enjoyed in the past. New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman recalled in the book that Belichick told him years earlier about a disagreement Brady had with a Patriots strength coach over equipment. “Belichick said, ‘If Tom Brady wants it, Tom Brady gets it,'” Cashman said. “If you get a player at that level, you get him what he needs, even if the strength coach says otherwise.”

Brady was the league’s only starting quarterback who didn’t attend voluntary OTAs in the spring; he was also angered by the Malcolm Butler benching in the Super Bowl LII loss to Philadelphia. Asked by broadcaster Jim Gray in late April if he felt appreciated by Belichick and owner Robert Kraft (the quarterback maintains a close relationship with Kraft), Brady responded, “I plead the Fifth! … Man, that is a tough question.”

The transactional relationship between the five-time champs, Brady and Belichick, had been reduced to a stare-down that didn’t surprise those in the quarterback’s camp. According to the book, Brady’s family long felt Belichick would push out his longtime franchise player before he was ready to retire. Brady’s sister Nancy is quoted telling people that her brother believed “Belichick will definitely do to him someday what the Colts did to Peyton [Manning].”

Brady started worrying for his job almost immediately after Belichick cited his age and contract status — and the coach’s own desire to be “early rather than late at that position” — when the Patriots drafted Garoppolo in 2014. One New England assistant said the general feeling among staff members around that time wasn’t that Belichick’s system could make Super Bowl quarterbacks out of all 32 NFL starters. “But if you gave us any of the top 15, we could do it,” the assistant said. “I don’t think the coaches view Tom as special as everyone else in football does. Mr. Kraft thinks Tom is the greatest gift ever, but the coaches don’t.”

Other notable material in the book includes:

Deflategate

  • In the early days of the case, Belichick was among the Patriots officials who had “serious doubts” about Brady’s claim he had no involvement in the potential deflation of footballs used in the January 2015 AFC Championship Game victory over the Colts.

  • One person close to Brady said his entire family was “miffed” at Belichick for telling reporters to ask the quarterback about his preferences on game balls, and “very miffed” at Kraft for reluctantly announcing in 2015 that he wouldn’t fight Brady’s four-game ban. Of the notion Belichick had initially dumped Deflategate in his quarterback’s lap, one close friend of Brady’s said, “I thought Bill handled it terribly, especially when it involved a guy who’d done everything to help your career as a coach, and you hung him out to dry.”

  • Brady told friends that his weak answer to the news conference question about whether he was a cheater — “I don’t believe so” — didn’t betray a consciousness of Deflategate guilt, but rather thoughts of the earlier Spygate conviction and his belief that at least some of the suspicions over the years about alleged Patriots black-ops tactics were likely true.

Spygate

  • During the Patriots-Jets season opener in 2007, after a Patriots staffer had his camera confiscated for illegally filming Jets coaches from the sideline, three law enforcement officers refereed a heated debate in a Giants Stadium office over control of the camera and tape. FBI agent Bob Bukowski and longtime New Jersey state troopers and Meadowlands security officials Jim Crann and Pat Aramini, who had worked undercover to infiltrate the Genovese crime family, listened as Patriots security chief Mark Briggs and two Jets officials made what Crann called “cross allegations” of wrongdoing. Crann said Briggs kept accusing the Meadowlands officers of stealing New England’s camera. Said Bukowski of the Patriots and the Spygate tape: “They knew what was on it, and they wanted it back. They were trying any reason, but there was no way.”

Urban Meyer/Aaron Hernandez

  • While coaching the University of Florida, Urban Meyer warned at least one NFL team that it should not draft his talented but troubled tight end, Aaron Hernandez. Meyer told that team, “Look, this guy’s a hell of a football player, but he f—ing lies to beat the system and teaches all our other guys to beat the system. With the marijuana stuff, we’ve never caught this guy, but we know he’s doing it. … Don’t f—ing touch that guy.” An official with that NFL team said he was taken aback when Meyer’s friend, Belichick, drafted Hernandez in the fourth round. “I never understood that,” the official said.

Bill Parcells

  • Parcells and Belichick had repaired much of the damage to their relationship caused by Belichick’s stormy departure from the Jets after 1999, but Parcells is quoted in the book questioning why his former defensive coordinator’s game plan in the Giants‘ Super Bowl XXV upset of Buffalo ended up in Canton. “I don’t know whose idea that was to put it in the Hall of Fame,” Parcells said. “If anything should be in the Hall of Fame, it should be [offensive coordinator] Ron Erhardt’s game plan. We had the ball for 40 minutes and some seconds. That takes work, consistent play. We were only on defense for 19 minutes. To me, we had a good game plan against them. It was well thought out, a couple of things we did, the two-man lines in that game. But I’m not diminishing anything. I’m just telling you. I don’t know how that happened. I’m not knocking anyone here.”

Nick Saban

  • Though the longtime friends formed a devastating tandem in 1994, when their Browns defense allowed a league-low 204 points, Belichick and Saban had their moments in Cleveland. Saban had little use for Belichick’s restrictions on his assistants’ access to reporters, and for Belichick’s conservative philosophy on defense. “Nick was so pissed with Bill,” recalled Pro Bowl defensive end Rob Burnett. “He wanted to do so many things and he was hamstrung by Bill. I used to meet with Nick all the time, and Bill would not bend as far as changing defenses. He stayed as vanilla as ice cream. … To Nick I was like ‘Oh, man, remember in training camp when they couldn’t block us on this blitz?’ He goes, ‘I know, I know. But sometimes I put it in the game plan and Bill won’t run it on Sundays.’ … At the end, it wasn’t the best relationship.”

Giants

  • George Young, longtime Giants general manager, made it clear the team’s defensive coordinator, Belichick, would never succeed Parcells. “I was there when [Young] said it,” recalled personnel man Chris Mara. “He said, ‘He’ll never become the Giants’ head coach.’ … George, like others, said, ‘This is an ex-lacrosse player. He’s a disheveled-looking mess most of the time.’ George was big on that other stuff as far as appearance, which is why he was so high on Ray Perkins, who took command of everyone around him and was a born leader. I just don’t think he saw that in Bill Belichick.”

Belichick’s father

  • Steve Belichick was ahead of his time on race relations. While serving in the Navy during World War II, Belichick’s father was the only white man who didn’t walk out of the officers’ club on Okinawa when one of the Navy’s first black officers, Samuel Barnes, walked in. Belichick instead befriended Barnes, who often faced racism during his service. Barnes’ daughter Olga likened their friendship to the cross-racial bond between former Chicago Bears running backs Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo depicted in the 1971 film “Brian’s Song.”



Source link

post

Seahawks’ Earl Thomas takes on bigger role, but how long will it last? – Seattle Seahawks Blog


Earl Thomas has returned to the Seattle Seahawks. But it wasn’t a completely happy reunion.

Last Wednesday, when Thomas ended his holdout, he wrote in an Instagram post that “the disrespect has been well noted and will not be forgotten.”

It was a stark contrast to how Kam Chancellor returned from his holdout in 2015. So obstinate was Chancellor initially that he missed the first two games of that season, yet he was able to put hard feelings aside right away. So much so that he stood next to coach Pete Carroll at the podium on the day he returned, wearing a Seahawks cap and talking to reporters about not taking business decisions personally.

Can Thomas do the same?

“I’m going to try to do the best I can, try to work my way through it,” he said when asked if he’ll be able to put his contract dispute behind him and focus on football. “I’ve got a great team behind me.”

That remains to be seen. The Seahawks’ first-unit defense in Sunday’s season opener against the Denver Broncos included a pair of rookies — linebacker Shaquem Griffin and cornerback Tre Flowers — at new positions from what they played in college.

Another player — defensive end Quinton Jefferson — was making his first career start, and alongside them were two other starters — defensive tackle Tom Johnson and linebacker Barkevious Mingo — who joined Seattle as free agents over the offseason.

All told, five of the 11 starters were either new to the Seahawks or new to their starting lineup. And maybe most indicative of how much Seattle’s defense has changed was that only three players who started Sunday were also in the starting lineup for last season’s opener against Green Bay.

You could tell.

“We showed some newness and unfortunately it got us,” Carroll said Monday on his 710 ESPN Seattle radio show a day after the Seahawks’ defense allowed 27 points to Case Keenum and the Broncos in a three-point defeat.

Now try to picture that group without Thomas.

For Thomas’ case, Sunday’s opener is another exhibit in his argument for a new contract. On the Broncos’ first two possessions, Thomas broke up a pass and then picked off Keenum to set up the Seahawks’ first touchdown.

It underscores Thomas’ new importance that was evident Sunday. It wasn’t just because of the plays that he made but also because of how he’s now the most experienced and maybe the most talented member of a defense full of new pieces and question marks.

“It’s important to have Earl regardless if it’s new players or old players,” strong safety Bradley McDougald said. “Earl’s going to be Earl, and he showed it today.”

The Seahawks spelled Thomas with second-year free safety Tedric Thompson for 10 of their 74 defensive snaps against Denver. Carroll said they planned to give Thomas a few more plays off given that he was coming back so soon after missing so much time.

One of the plays he missed resulted in Denver’s first touchdown when Phillip Lindsay caught a pass in the left flat and took it 29 yards to the end zone. Either Flowers or Griffin — who’s playing weakside linebacker while K.J. Wright recovers from knee surgery — was out of position. Thompson couldn’t shed a block before Lindsay crossed the goal line.

According to ESPN charting, Denver averaged 11.9 yards per play and had a 99.2 raw QBR when Thomas was off the field compared to a 5.66-yard average and a 26.2 raw QBR when he was on it.

“We knew we could not play him the whole game, but we wanted to give him a great chance to contribute,” Carroll said of Thomas, “and he did — immediately.”

Speaking with reporters for the first time since returning, Thomas was asked after the game whether he still wants to be in Seattle. As he was answering, “If they want me, yeah,” McDougald blurted out from the next locker, “Hell yeah!”

Teammates seem to have embraced Thomas since his return. Wide receiver Doug Baldwin literally did so on Wednesday, saying he gave Thomas a huge hug when he walked into the team meeting room and saw him there for the first time. Defensive end Frank Clark referred to Thomas as “a legend” in the locker room.

“It felt good because we love having him around,” Clark said of having Thomas back. “Just him coming back over this last week, you could tell the energy shift in the building. He’s very quiet, but his aura speaks volumes.”

How teammates feel about Thomas is one thing. How Thomas feels about coming back without a new contract is another thing.

“I’m going to try to do the best I can, try to work my way through it,” he said when asked if he’ll be able to put his contract dispute behind him and focus on football. “I’ve got a great team behind me.”

It remains anyone’s guess as to how the Thomas situation will end. Carroll’s comments last week about wanting Thomas to finish his career in Seattle seemed like a strong indication that an extension isn’t out of the question at some point. But there’s still a question — at least in Thomas’ mind, it seems — of whether the fences can be sufficiently mended.

“I have no clue. I have no clue,” he said when asked how burned the bridges are between him and the organization. “All I can do is just put the best product out there as possible, protect myself until I do get paid.”

There’s still the possibility of a trade. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported last week that the Dallas Cowboys had increased their offer to a second-round pick but that Seattle still wants more in return.

Keep in mind that the Seahawks would, at best, receive a third-round compensatory pick in 2020 if Thomas were to leave in free agency after this season. There’s a massive difference in value between a 2019 second-round pick and a 2020 pick at the end of the third round.

It begs the question: If he isn’t going to be in Seattle beyond 2018, what’s one season of Thomas worth?

Based on what he’s shown throughout his career and what was evident on Sunday from Seattle’s young and remade defense, it may be quite a bit.

“I’m always confident with him out there,” cornerback Justin Coleman said. “He pays attention to the details and he’s legendary. I feel like he’s going to always do his job well.”



Source link

post

Eagles’ Chris Long talks tattoos, philanthropy and making a difference – Philadelphia Eagles Blog


It was a style crisis that got Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long into his latest charitable endeavor.

He was in New York earlier this offseason to speak at a luncheon. Already a little nervous about the public speaking engagement, he went into full panic mode when he unzipped his suit bag to get dressed a half-hour before the event.

“I’m absolutely horrified because it’s one of my suits from 2008 at the draft. It’s one of those suits that I was just swimming in,” Long said with a laugh. “It was the style back then and I was about 20 pounds heavier. I freak out and I’m like, ‘What do I do?’ I start Googling places around my hotel and I find a Men’s Wearhouse, and even though I was kind of mortified to walk down the street in that baggy suit, I was able to find it and a gentleman helped me get the right fit. I got some slacks and a jacket and a button-down all within 20 minutes and was able to make my engagement on time and I felt good, I felt confident.”

Men’s Wearhouse later approached him about partnering on its annual suit drive to help assist unemployed individuals who are trying to get back into the workforce. For Long, it was a natural fit given his experience.

“They’ve been collecting these gently used men’s and women’s professional attire for I think 10 years now and they’ve collected 1.6 million items. A lot of unemployed Americans are feeling good about walking into their interview,” he said. “And it’s like in football we say, ‘Look good, feel good, play good,’ and it’s the same thing going into a business interview.”

Add this to an extensive list of outreach efforts for Long, who has become one of the game’s most forward-facing philanthropists. He donated his entire 2017 salary to increase educational equality in his hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia; he helped establish his foundation, “Waterboys,” and a hike up Mount Kilimanjaro called “Conquering Kili” in the name of providing clean water to people in East Africa; and he has been pushing for criminal justice reform as a member of the Players Coalition.

In a wide-ranging interview, we talked with Long about how those ventures are shaping his career, a tattoo-related bet that he’s about to pay up on next week and the driving force behind the “wave of the conscious athlete”:

Can you give an update on your offseason philanthropic efforts?

“It was a lot of fun: In February we went to Tanzania as we’ve done the past few years, bringing wounded veterans, people who have served our country and retired NFL players, and our trip over there centers around climbing Kilimanjaro — 20,000-foot mountain, seven-day hike, really grueling and tough. But it brings a lot of people over there that wouldn’t be coming over there otherwise and it opens their eyes to really the important part, which is the villages we visit, the schools we visit, people without access to clean water. We’ve just funded our 45th large solar-powered well. As soon as that well is in the ground, we’re going to have in the range of 150,000 people drinking water from our devices. It’s been a joy and it’s picked up momentum. It was really hard to meet our goal of 32 wells for 32 NFL teams, but with the help of my peers in the NFL and fans, we have upped our goal to a million people served, so that’s really exciting.

“I’m just kind of drumming up some ideas for some educational initiatives we can do in the fall, taking advantage of the awesome platform we have as Super Bowl champions, and that’s kind of what we’ve got going on. It’s a busy summer, as usual. Running a foundation is never boring.”

Malcolm Jenkins described the uptick in player activity off the field as “a wave of the conscious athlete.” Any theory as to why athletes have seemingly become more involved over the past couple of years?

“I want to be careful not to say that we’re better than our last generation at helping people out. NFL players have always done a lot of good off the field, and I think now, the biggest difference is we have a platform that’s increased through social media so guys can run campaigns and get the fans involved who are so supportive and help us so much carry out initiatives. … There’s a lot of hard things about being a player under this microscope nowadays. The 24-hour news cycle is kind of insatiable. Players in the ’80s and ’90s didn’t have to deal with that scrutiny. But the trade-off is that we have an increased platform, so guys are using it. I think if you show a player an avenue to make a difference, he’s going to bring that same intensity he brings on the field in his community.”

What sparked it for you to really get involved off the field?

“I’ve always wanted to be involved off the field. I’ve just been very lucky. So you talk about being 22, 23 years old and you’ve done a good job playing a game, and all of a sudden you have a lot of resources to help out. I think it would be a wasted career if you didn’t max out your efforts and that’s really why I’ve done it. It’s really that simple. I want to be productive and you only have a little window to do it, so that’s what sparked it for me. And also learning from older players that have done a lot of good in the community and seeing the example they’ve shown. Earlier in my career, I wanted to do a lot of things under the radar because I felt uncomfortable in engaging with the fans because then they’re thinking, ‘Well, you’re doing it for publicity,’ or whatever. You’ve gotta get over that fear because if it weren’t for fans, we wouldn’t have been able to do half the things we’ve done off the field. … So you have to embrace that and have to kind of use your megaphone and do things for good.”

I know it’s been a busy offseason but have you been able to get the Ken Flajole tattoo yet? (Backstory: When Long signed with the Eagles last offseason, he was reunited with his former defensive coordinator with the St. Louis Rams, Flajole, now Philadelphia’s linebackers coach. Some friendly banter between the two last summer led Long to say that if the Eagles won the Super Bowl, he’d get a tattoo of Flajole’s face on his body. Well …)

“That’s going to be coming up next week. Been really just nailing down the design. … We’ve been working on the design, the location, and hopefully we’ll get that done next week before camp.”

What have you settled on?

“Well, I mean it’s pretty simple. I made a bet that I have to get a tattoo of his face on my body. There’s not a lot of leeway either way. (Laughs) But I’ll try to hide it relatively low. It’s not going to be tiny. I’m a big guy and I can’t have any tiny tattoos.”

Has the reach that being an NFL player provides influenced how long you’ve decided to play in the league, and have you contemplated what it will be like when you don’t have that large of a platform and how to still make an impact?

“I think No. 1, it has impacted how long I want to play. I think my favorite part of playing at this point is not just the game, but it’s being able to make a difference. And knowing that ability goes down when you do retire is relevant. But at the same time, if I was to say, ‘If I’m not playing football, I can’t make a difference,’ what do I tell fans, what do I tell business leaders that don’t have that platform, or a lot of the people I’m depending on to help me carry our campaigns? It would be hypocritical if I was to say I can’t have an impact if I don’t play football. You can definitely have an impact if you’re not playing football. That reach might be restricted a little bit geographically. You might not have that same pop on social media, but I’ll always be able [to be involved] whether that’s in my hometown or in the cities I’ve played in. And I’m excited about the transition, whenever that is. I’m very excited about it. And I’ve got some ideas of what I want to do. I’m hashing that out.”





Source link

post

Chris Long pushes back on Ben McAdoo’s Eagles commentary – Philadelphia Eagles Blog


Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long knows getting back to the mountaintop is no easy feat, but he isn’t buying what former New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo is selling.

In a recent interview with the New York Post, McAdoo picked his old team, the Giants, to win the division in 2018, in part because he believes the Eagles are going to “have a hard time handling success” coming off their first Super Bowl championship.

“That’s kind of a speculative statement, isn’t it?” said Long during a call on behalf of the Men’s Wearhouse Suit Drive. “There’s no science as to who’s going to handle success well or not handle success well. Certainly, no one’s given any indication in our organization that we won’t handle success well. I think it’s a challenge for any team coming off a really great season like we had. That’s why you don’t see a lot of teams repeat. You don’t see a lot of teams back deep in the playoffs. Continuity is one of the hardest things to come by in the NFL.

“Listen, that’s his opinion. We don’t play each other this year, right? At the end of the day, it’s an opinion and he doesn’t have to back that up. I respect his right to have an opinion — he coached in the NFL — but I mean, come on, there’s no science to knowing who’s going to handle success well or not.”

As Long mentioned, back-to-back-titles in the NFL are rare, especially of late. Since the turn of the century, only the New England Patriots (2003-04 seasons) have turned the trick.

To give themselves a shot, Long says the Eagles have to distance themselves from the ongoing victory celebration in the City of Brotherly Love.

“Yesterday I watched our fans, rightfully so, shutting down a street to watch the Super Bowl again on the big screen. That’s awesome,” Long said. “But as players we need to separate ourselves from that, and we need to show up and realize we have a target on our back. And the hardest thing is, there’s going to be reminders of how great we were last year all through the summer and even into the fall. They’re going to lower the [championship] banner Week 1. And that is what it is. That has nothing to do with what we do Week 1 or Week 2 or all the way through Week 17. It doesn’t give us a right to play in the postseason. It’s totally irrelevant. But the fans should enjoy it. And we have to separate ourselves from that buzz that’s going on that, deservedly so, the city gets to enjoy.”

Long is helping to raise awareness for the Men’s Wearhouse Suit Drive, which collects gently used men’s and women’s professional attire to help assist unemployed individuals who are trying to get back into the workforce. They are accepting donations through July 31.





Source link

post

Group of NFL players write op-ed asking President Donald Trump to change overly long sentences for non-violent drug offenders


A group of NFL players responded Thursday to President Donald Trump’s challenge that they present him with a list of people who have been unfairly treated by the justice system and should be pardoned.

Players Coalition leaders Doug Baldwin, Anquan Boldin, Malcolm Jenkins and Benjamin Watson penned an op-ed piece that was published in the New York Times. And they were among several NFL players who produced short video pleas on social media, asking for Trump to change policies that have led to overly long sentences for non-violent drug offenders.

Players credited Trump for recently commuting the life sentence of 63-year-old Alice Marie Johnson, a non-violent drug offender who had served more than 20 years in prison, after celebrity Kim Kardashian West helped plead her case.

But as Boldin said in his video, “There are a lot of people out there like Ms. Johnson that should be pardoned that don’t know a celebrity or a NFL player.”

“A handful of pardons will not address the sort of systemic injustice that N.F.L. players have been protesting,” the letter to the New York Times read. “These are problems that our government has created, many of which occur at the local level. If President Trump thinks he can end these injustices if we deliver him a few names, he hasn’t been listening to us. …

“As Americans, it is our constitutional right to question injustices when they occur, and we see them daily: police brutality, unnecessary incarceration, excessive criminal sentencing, residential segregation and educational inequality. The United States effectively uses prison to treat addiction, and you could argue it is also our largest mental-health provider. Law enforcement has a responsibility to serve its communities, yet this responsibility has too often not met basic standards of accountability.

“These injustices are so widespread as to seem practically written into our nation’s DNA. We must challenge these norms, investigate the reasons for their pervasiveness and fight with all we have to change them. That is what we, as football players, are trying to do with our activism.”

The letter included statistics on the percentage of people incarcerated in the United States for drug-related crimes — and how many of them had sentences of 20 years or more. Players also wrote that the elderly will make up more than 28 percent of the federal prison population by next year and suggested that Trump “could order the release of any drug offender over the age of 60 whose conviction is not recent.”

Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long also pointed out in his video plea that marijuana is now legal recreationally or medicinally in nearly 30 states — yet thousands of people remain in prison for marijuana-related offenses, and many of them should be pardoned.

Trump, who has been in a public battle with NFL players who have chosen to protest through demonstrations during the national anthem, issued his challenge to players earlier this month after the Eagles’ scheduled visit to the White House as Super Bowl champions was cancelled.

“You have a lot of people in the NFL in particular … they’re not proud enough to stand for our national anthem. I don’t like that,” Trump said, adding that the “it’s all talk, talk, talk” from the players.

“I am gonna ask all of those people to recommend to me … people that they think were unfairly treated by the justice system, and I understand that, and I’m gonna ask them to recommend to me people that were unfairly treated, friends of theirs or people that they know about,” Trump said. “And I’m gonna take a look at those applications. And if I find — and my committee finds — that they were unfairly treated, then we will pardon them or at least let them out.”

Players ended their letter by saying, “President Trump, please note: Our being professional athletes has nothing to do with our commitment to fighting injustice. We are citizens who embrace the values of empathy, integrity and justice, and we will fight for what we believe is right. We weren’t elected to do this. We do it because we love this country, our communities and the people in them. This is our America, our right.

“We intend to continue to challenge and encourage all Americans to remember why we are here in this world. We are here to treat one another with the kindness and respect every human being deserves. And we hope our elected officials will use their power to do the same.”





Source link

post

Group of NFL players write op-ed asking President Donald Trump to change overly long sentences for nonviolent drug offenders


A group of NFL players responded Thursday to President Donald Trump’s challenge that they present him with a list of people who have been unfairly treated by the justice system and should be pardoned.

Players Coalition leaders Doug Baldwin, Anquan Boldin, Malcolm Jenkins and Benjamin Watson penned an op-ed piece that was published in The New York Times. They also were among several NFL players who produced short video pleas on social media, asking for Trump to change policies that have led to overly long sentences for nonviolent drug offenders.

Players credited Trump for recently commuting the life sentence of 63-year-old Alice Marie Johnson, a nonviolent drug offender who had served more than 20 years in prison, after celebrity Kim Kardashian West helped plead her case.

But as Boldin said in his video, “There are a lot of people out there like Ms. Johnson that should be pardoned that don’t know a celebrity or a NFL player.”

“A handful of pardons will not address the sort of systemic injustice that N.F.L. players have been protesting,” the letter to the New York Times read. “These are problems that our government has created, many of which occur at the local level. If President Trump thinks he can end these injustices if we deliver him a few names, he hasn’t been listening to us.

“As Americans, it is our constitutional right to question injustices when they occur, and we see them daily: police brutality, unnecessary incarceration, excessive criminal sentencing, residential segregation and educational inequality. The United States effectively uses prison to treat addiction, and you could argue it is also our largest mental-health provider. Law enforcement has a responsibility to serve its communities, yet this responsibility has too often not met basic standards of accountability.

“These injustices are so widespread as to seem practically written into our nation’s DNA. We must challenge these norms, investigate the reasons for their pervasiveness and fight with all we have to change them. That is what we, as football players, are trying to do with our activism.”

The letter included statistics on the percentage of people incarcerated in the United States for drug-related crimes, and how many of them had sentences of 20 years or more. Players also wrote that the elderly will make up more than 28 percent of the federal prison population by next year and suggested that Trump “could order the release of any drug offender over the age of 60 whose conviction is not recent.”

Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long also pointed out in his video plea that marijuana is now legal recreationally or medicinally in nearly 30 states, yet thousands of people remain in prison for marijuana-related offenses. Long said many of them should be pardoned.

Trump, who has been in a public battle with NFL players who have chosen to protest through demonstrations during the pregame national anthem, issued his challenge to players earlier this month after the Eagles’ scheduled visit to the White House as Super Bowl champions was cancelled.

“You have a lot of people in the NFL in particular … they’re not proud enough to stand for our national anthem. I don’t like that,” Trump said, adding that “it’s all talk, talk, talk” from the players.

“I’m gonna ask them to recommend to me people that were unfairly treated [by the justice system], friends of theirs or people that they know about,” Trump said. “And I’m gonna take a look at those applications. And if I find — and my committee finds — that they were unfairly treated, then we will pardon them or at least let them out.”

Players ended their letter by saying, “President Trump, please note: Our being professional athletes has nothing to do with our commitment to fighting injustice. We are citizens who embrace the values of empathy, integrity and justice, and we will fight for what we believe is right. We weren’t elected to do this. We do it because we love this country, our communities and the people in them. This is our America, our right.

“We intend to continue to challenge and encourage all Americans to remember why we are here in this world. We are here to treat one another with the kindness and respect every human being deserves. And we hope our elected officials will use their power to do the same.”





Source link

post

Malcolm Jenkins, Chris Long, Philadelphia Eagles focus on bail reform – Philadelphia Eagles Blog


PHILADELPHIA — Just hours after Malcolm Jenkins held up signs to gathered media in the Philadelphia Eagles locker room Wednesday, he addressed a group of about 100 public defenders at a reception.

He explained how the police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile motivated him into action. How Anquan Boldin’s cousin also was killed by a police officer after his car broke down on the side of the road, leading to Boldin’s involvement and the eventual forming of the Players Coalition, which convinced the league to contribute $89 million over seven years to projects dealing with criminal justice reform, law enforcement/community relations and education.

Jenkins spoke of how members of that coalition recently helped push through a piece of legislation in Boston that raised the age children are allowed to be sent to juvenile institutions from 7 to 12, and about the championing of the Clean Slate Act — a bill aimed at reducing the recidivism rate in Pennsylvania — which has effectively passed through the House and Senate.

“There’s all of these ways that we’ve found to help,” Jenkins said. “If there’s one thing that we know how to do as athletes, it’s draw a lot of attention to whatever it is we’re doing. So we’re just here to really encourage you guys.

“We know that your job is not easy and you’re right on the front lines of this. So when you’re getting tired, you’re overworked, you’re running out of resources, time, please lean on your community … lean on organizations like us to really help you push that to the next level because you have people who are advocating for you, who are behind you. Thank you, guys, for having us.”

A public defender called out from the back of the room: “Thank you for kneeling.”

Jenkins never has knelt in protest, but instead raised a fist during the playing of the anthem for parts of two seasons. But in this room, it was the progress that had been done, not the form of demonstration, that mattered.

Jenkins, defensive end Chris Long and safety Rodney McLeod were meeting with chief public defenders from across the country for a discussion about bail reform — a major point of focus for the Players Coalition for 2018. Gathered together around a horseshoe table, the group brainstormed for close to two hours to identify potential solutions to the core issues and cultivate an action plan that would best utilize the players’ growing influence in the court of public opinion.

In order to have the proper messaging, they had to first get properly educated.

“This might be a dumb question,” Long said, “so prepare yourself.”

Transparency, the group of about 25 defenders concluded, is key in keeping the power brokers honest and protecting the vulnerable, so Long was curious about the capacity of courtrooms and how easy it is for the public to have access to bail hearings to help keep things on the up-and-up.

“I’m not the person to ask because our system currently is really messed up,” one defender responded. “Our bail hearings happen via video conference in a trailer while our current jail is being reconstructed. It is, for a lack of a better professional term, a s— show right now.”

“You’re speaking my language,” Long responded, drawing laughs.

The latest actions of the Players Coalition unfolded in the shadows of a national controversy surrounding the Eagles and the White House. The Eagles were scheduled to visit Washington, D.C., on Tuesday to celebrate their Super Bowl championship, but President Donald Trump, who has been at odds with the NFL over player demonstrations during the national anthem, canceled the event after the team told the White House that just a small player contingent would be in attendance. Instead, Trump had a celebration of the American flag and emphasized the importance of proudly standing “for our glorious nation under God” before the playing of “God Bless America.”

About 75 media members descended on the Eagles’ practice facility Wednesday. Most set up shop at the locker stall of Jenkins, who chose not to use his voice at all in this moment, instead holding up signs that pointed to the work that players have been doing in the community and stats related to social-justice issues.

As it so happened, one of the events dedicated to those efforts was scheduled for that night.

“This is just an interesting coincidence, and it is an irony, because so many people that see players drawing attention to causes say, ‘Well, what are they doing?’ And the evidence is a Google search away,” Long said. “But the reality is I don’t think good news and productive stuff sells. We just have to get past this thing in our country where only the bad news and only controversy sells. This is good stuff. This is common-sense stuff. And it should be reported on that players are doing substantive things in their community and have been for a while.”

There were some jarring revelations in the session. A study found that 62 percent of the prison population in Philadelphia is made up of people in on cash bail, or as part of pre-trial detention. Those who can’t afford bail sit in jail for the lifespan of the case, which can be about six to eight months at the cost of $120 a day to taxpayers, all before it’s determined whether they’re innocent or guilty.

The New Orleans rep evoked an image from the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina of evacuated inmates from Orleans Parish Prison, in orange jumpsuits, sitting on the overpass “for hours and days” in part because of the sheer number of people that needed to be rescued. There were more than 7,000 in the local jail at that time in large part because of the cash bail system and the lack of resources in the public defender sector. Improvements in those areas have helped lower the current number of prisoners to around 1,200.

In Washington, D.C., they eliminated cash bail and established a pre-trial services industry that protects presumption of innocence rights, with positive results. It is considered a model for other states.

In a similar effort, Jets CEO Christopher Johnson, along with current Jets Josh McCown and Kelvin Beachum and ex-Jet Demario Davis, sent a letter to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and top lawmakers recently calling for them to pass comprehensive bail reform, per ESPN’s Rich Cimini.

“Watch a bail hearing and you will see immediately the ills of that process and how it does not match up with the ideals of this country and the presumption of innocence,” Long said, “and the fact that we are jailing so many innocent people and it is taking such a toll on not just those people and their families but our country and bogging down our system. And not only that, but it’s just wrong, and the assignment of bail is arbitrary. People would be blown away. But we have to connect people to that process. We are influencers who have that ability, and coming away from today, we feel like we’re more empowered.”

Bradford-Grey pointed out that public defenders have been fighting this fight for decades, but because of the awareness athletes are bringing to the cause, “people are starting to care, they’re starting to learn more, they’re starting to get involved. For that, we forever thank them.”



Source link