Lito is sticking up for another Florida Gator...
"The only way (Kearse) stays here next season is if he makes the Pro Bowl."
Kearse is scheduled to cost a cap hit of $8.6 million in 2008 if the Eagles do not release him. If they cut the former three-time Pro Bowler, that cap hit is more than halved.
On its face, the Eagles have a strong case to bench Kearse, whose production in the pass rush -- 3.5 sacks and two quarterback hurries -- has left something to be desired. However, he says his knee is still feeling better every week.
By comparison, Thomas has four sacks and six hurries in a roughly equal number of snaps.
Sheppard said the argument that the more productive player -- in this case, Thomas, but only slightly -- won the job is convenient at best.
"I don't know about that," he said, when asked if Thomas played his way past Kearse. "They might make excuses to make it seem that way."
I wonder if Lito felt this same way when he was handed the starting job over Troy Vincent when Vincent was let go? Did he think that it was just over money and that Troy was the better player and deserved to be playing? Did he not think he earned that job?
I think Lito needs to watch what he says. On one hand he may think he's sticking up for a teammate, but he's also putting one down at the same time.
Let's be honest here. This is just not a case of the evil Eagles front office treating a player badly. Juqua Thomas has flat out played better and been more productive this year. He's earned the starting job the old fashioned way. Frankly, I don't totally disagree with Lito when he says "When you're talking about (Kearse losing his starting job to Juqua Thomas), you're talking about money." He's right. The only reason Kearse even had a starting job to lose is because the Eagles were paying so much. Otherwise JT might have gotten the job in preseason.
The Eagles don't have to make excuses to make it seem like Thomas has outplayed Kearse... because he has and I think you'd have a tough time finding NFL fans or pundits to disagree with that. Takeo Spikes knows it.
To his credit, Kearse has handled it well.
And Jim Johnson doesn't sound like he's a heartless guy who only cares about money with no regard to players...
Couldn't have said it better myself. I like Jevon, I'd love to see him out there making plays. He just isn't, and like he said... "It's football, it's part of the game."