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Nigel Bradham suspension will cause Eagles linebacker to miss season opener

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Dang.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles-Minicamp Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Well, this isn’t ideal news. Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Nigel Bradham is receiving a one-game suspension, according to a report from NFL insider Field Yates.

Bradham confirmed the suspension via his official Twitter account.

I would like to apologize to my fans, coaches, teammates and the entire eagles organization for the 1 game suspension. This stems from a July 2016 incident and the matter is now resolved. I look forward to giving it my all this season and helping the team win another Championship

Bradham was arrested for alleged assault in 2016. He avoided serious legal punishment but it seems he did not escape the NFL’s personal conduct policy.

In any case, this means Bradham will NOT be available for the defending Super Bowl champions’ season opener against the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday, September 6.

Bradham was the Eagles’ most valuable linebacker in 2017, especially after Jordan Hicks went down with a season-ending injury. The Eagles rewarded Bradham this offseason with a five-year contract worth $40 million ($8 million guaranteed).

It remains to be seen who will replace Bradham in Week 1. Hicks figures to start in the middle of the defense, if healthy, but beyond that, who knows. Corey Nelson, Kamu Grugier-Hill, and Nate Gerry are the most likely in-house candidates considering they’ve all received first team reps at WILL with Mychal Kendricks gone. It’s also possible the Eagles sign a veteran linebacker and/or revisit using safety Malcolm Jenkins in a quasi-linebacker role.

The good news is that Bradham will only miss one game. This could have been worse. He’ll be back in time for when the Eagles travel to Tampa Bay to play the Buccaneers in Week 2.

The bad news is that every game matters and missing him against one of the top teams in the NFC is a bummer.

UPDATE: Official statements from the league and the team.

Statement by an NFL spokesperson:

“Nigel Bradham of the Philadelphia Eagles has been suspended without pay for the first game of the 2018 regular season for violating the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy. Bradham will be eligible to return to the Eagles’ active roster on Friday, September 7 following the team’s September 6 game against the Atlanta Falcons. Bradham is eligible to participate in all offseason and preseason practices and games.”

Philadelphia Eagles statement:

“We have been in contact with Nigel and the NFL regarding his suspension. We respect the league’s decision on this matter and we are disappointed that Nigel put himself in this position. Nigel has taken responsibility and expressed to us through his words and actions that he has learned from his mistake. We will continue to be supportive of him throughout this process.”