With the Philadelphia Eagles being eliminated from the 2019 NFL playoffs on Sunday evening, today was locker room clean-out day at the NovaCare Complex. It was a somber day as some players leave the Eagles’ locker room for the last time. There were a number of newsworthy tidbits from a number of players speaking on Monday, so here’s a roundup.
No. 11 spoke for the first time since news of his back fracture injury emerged after the Eagles’ Week 14 game.
It was encouraging to hear that the injury isn’t expected to be a long-term issue.
Carson Wentz on what docs have told him about his back: “Once we get it under wraps, it shouldn’t ever come back.”— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) January 14, 2019
Former NFL team doctor David Chao weighed in on this:
Correct.— David J. Chao, MD (@ProFootballDoc) January 14, 2019
"Getting it under wraps"/healing is key and this is why the @Eagles couldn't chance the stress fracture healing process by playing #CarsonWentz. If not, it could become a recurring issue. https://t.co/3itz7nGFCT
Getting Wentz healthy (and keeping him that way) is obviously critical to the future of this team’s success. It sounds like he knows he has some doubters to prove wrong.
Wentz on injury prone label: "I, first and foremost, am looking forward to putting that to rest over the next couple of years." #Eagles.— Martin Frank (@Mfranknfl) January 14, 2019
Carson Wentz, in his first interview since he was sidelined with a broken vertebra, said that “we” - the #Eagles and Wentz - decided that the risks were too great for him to keep playing after the injury was discovered. Asked if he felt he could still play, said, “Yes and no.”— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) January 14, 2019
#Eagles QB Carson Wentz on whether he wanted to play through his broken vertebra injury: I wanted to be out there, no doubt, but the risks involved and the way it was ultimately hindering me, was not worth it.”— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) January 14, 2019
Carson Wentz on frustration watching #Eagles in postseason again: "You want to play postseason football. I still have zero games of postseason football under my belt and realize I have a lot to prove in that regard. But I’m confident that I will get the chance to do that.”— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) January 14, 2019
Carson Wentz on whether Foles’ success puts more pressure on him. pic.twitter.com/OXSgplmN6I— Tim McManus (@Tim_McManus) January 14, 2019
Q: With the level of success that Nick had, does it put more pressure on you?
WENTZ: It could, without a doubt. You look at that and you say it could put more pressure. You could say coming into the season there was more pressure. But I do everything I can to block that stuff out. I think right now, going forward, my focus is on getting my body right and to play this game freely the way I did back last year before the injury. Cut it loose and get rid of all that pressure and anxiety, and whatever it may be. Just play the game freely and that’s where I’m going to get to.
The feeling here is that some have gotten way too down on Wentz. I think people easily forget just how good he was in 2017. Let’s see Wentz have a full offseason to get healthy and work on his game. There’s reason for optimism when it comes to his 2019 outlook.
Nick Foles got better over time. Why can’t Carson?
Speaking of the Super Bowl MVP ...
Based on everything he’s said following the Eagles’ loss, it sure doesn’t sound like Foles will be back in Philly next season.
Nick Foles said free agency is appealing to him. Team has option on him for $20M, Foles can essentially buy his free agency for $2M. (Team can always tag him thereafter.) Foles wouldn’t get into the hypothetical of what will happen. Wants to lead a team.— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) January 14, 2019
Nick Foles admits it’s emotional thinking this could be his last time in #Eagles locker room.— Martin Frank (@Mfranknfl) January 14, 2019
When Nick Foles speaks he is so unfiltered and honest. Said today that’s way he is with his teammates and media. In the end that’s who the #Eagles QB is. In the end Foles will be missed, but Wentz is the QB. @SportsRadioWIP pic.twitter.com/5J5m6bBGfc— Howard Eskin (@howardeskin) January 14, 2019
In what will be his last time as an #eagles player in this locker room did he step back after getting home and think about playing his final game as an Eagle? Seems he was too hungry to think about future just yet. @SportsRadioWIP pic.twitter.com/UlTYBsKTMH— Howard Eskin (@howardeskin) January 14, 2019
Nick Foles today said he’s hope he’s shown the rest of the NFL winning is not just about the QB. Asked him what he meant by that and how he, as a QB, helps facilitate that. This was his response. It’s a good one. Shows his understanding of, and approach to, being a leader. pic.twitter.com/h2k9SPWJGe— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) January 14, 2019
Nick Foles said he’ll always love Philly. Well, Nick, Philly will always love you, too.
It really sucks that Brooks suffered an injury so late in the 2018 season that it could impact his 2019 outlook. Hopefully Brooks’ recovery timeline will allow him to be ready for the start of next season. The Eagles need their Pro Bowl right guard in the lineup.
Recovery time for OG Brandon Brooks? He says 6-8 months and says he has “re-ignited” fire with torn Achilles’ tendon injury. “Doing the math, should be getting back into football stuff right around June, July.”— Dave Spadaro (@EaglesInsider) January 14, 2019
Brandon Brooks said he'd never had a major injury and thought Achilles tear would hurt more.— Sheil Kapadia (@SheilKapadia) January 14, 2019
He tried to walk off but play clock was running so teammates told him to go to the ground.
Brooks smiled as he told the story. Said he has nothing to cry about, will come back strong.
I’m going to be so sad if the Eagles don’t find a way to keep my fellow BLG. He’s always such a happy guy who brings so much fun and positivity to the locker room. Not to mention he’s hell of a player who made the biggest play in Eagles history by strip-sacking Tom Brady in last year’s Super Bowl.
The good news is that it sounds like Graham, who is going to be a free agent, has a lot of interest in coming back to Philly. We’ll see if the feeling is mutual.
More from #Eagles locker room:— Geoff Mosher (@GeoffMosherNFL) January 14, 2019
1. Malcolm Jenkins reached goal of playing 10 years but said he feels good, can still play.
2. Brandon Graham stopped just short of saying he’s willing to take a hometown discount. Will definitely test market but didn’t slam door on return.
Over the weekend, conflicting reports emerged regarding Kelce potentially retiring before the 2019 season. Speaking after Sunday’s game, Kelce said he hasn’t made a decision quite yet. He sure didn’t slam the door shut on the possibility of calling it a career.
For the Eagles’ sake, hopefully Kelce isn’t leaving the game.
Jason Kelce on his future in the NFL: pic.twitter.com/K5evlUVShg— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) January 14, 2019
Cox got banged up in the Eagles’ loss but he gutted it out as best as he could.
Fletcher Cox has a walking boot on his right foot. Said it was very painful to play through it. #FlyEaglesFly— John McMullen (@JFMcMullen) January 14, 2019
Long, who turns 34 years old in March, is still under contract for the 2019 season. The veteran pass rusher gave some weight to retiring last year, however, so it possible he calls it a career. If that’s the case, the Eagles would save $5.3 million in cap space with only $300,000 in dead money. For what it’s worth, Long seems undecided about his future.
Chris Long hasn’t made up his mind about his future. Said the determining factor will be the football situation — he has been productive and wants to be on the field. Loves Philly and his experience here.— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) January 14, 2019
Some Chris Long video from clean out day pic.twitter.com/WGv6WF2vaO— Ed Kracz (@kracze) January 14, 2019
Earlier this month, ESPN reported Sproles told the Eagles he wants to play another season. Sproles turns 36 in June but he showed he still has some gas left in the tank. Sproles is set to be a free agent so the Eagles will have to sign him to a new contract. I’d guess we’ll see him back.
Darren Sproles is undecided about whether he’ll retire or keep playing. He’s considering another year. The team told him they want him back.— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) January 14, 2019
Ertz, Brooks, and Cox are the Eagles’ three 2019 Pro Bowl selections. Brooks definitely isn’t playing in the game and I’m guessing Cox isn’t either given that he’s in a walking boot right now. Ertz is the only player who might play.
Zach Ertz is undecided about playing in the Pro Bowl. Will see how he feels this week. He hasn’t been playing at full health in recent weeks.— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) January 14, 2019
As previously noted, made it through the entire regular season and playoffs without missing a single defensive snap. He also played 157 special teams snaps. Warrior.
#Eagles S Malcolm Jenkins says his goal coming into the NFL was to play 10 years. This was his 10th year. Says his body feels great so no thoughts of shutting it down anytime soon. Says his “spirit” was tested more than his body this season.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) January 14, 2019
Add Bradham to the long list of players who got hurt in New Orleans.
#Eagles LB Nigel Bradham is walking around with a boot on his right leg. Got injured late in the Saints game.— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) January 14, 2019
The 2019 offseason is a big one for Jones. After only playing in 10 out of 37 possible games over two years, he needs to prove he can get healthy. Jones is only 22 years old so it’s way too early to give upon him. But it’s time for him to step up.
It’ll be interesting to see how Jones fits into next year’s secondary with Rasul Douglas, Avonte Maddox, and Cre’Von LeBlanc all playing well down the stretch. Jim Schwartz favorite Jalen Mills will still be around and it’s not impossible free agent Ronald Darby could be retained.
#Eagles CB Sidney Jones said he could have been smarter about returning for the Week 11 Saints game. He saw they needed him so he pushed himself. He said he further injured himself in another part of his right hamstring in Cowboys game in Week 14.— Mike Kaye (@mike_e_kaye) January 14, 2019
#Eagles CB Sidney Jones said he would have played next week had the team made it to the NFC title game.— Mike Kaye (@mike_e_kaye) January 14, 2019
I don’t think we’ll be seeing Tate return to the Eagles in 2019. It feels like he’ll get more money on the market than what the Eagles will offer.
“My time is limited. I want to go to a team that has a chance.” pic.twitter.com/UkausBQc0W— Geoff Mosher (@GeoffMosherNFL) January 14, 2019
Two things so far from #eagles locker room:— Geoff Mosher (@GeoffMosherNFL) January 14, 2019
1. Brandon Brooks said in about a week he’l have Achilles surgery, with a 6-8 month recovery timetable.
2. Golden Tate said he took best offer first time in free agency when he left SEA for DET. This time, looking to play for winner.
One of my favorite takeaways from Monday’s media session:
Significant takeaway from #Eagles locker room as team heads into active offseason:— Geoff Mosher (@GeoffMosherNFL) January 14, 2019
Many players said Doug Pederson has a great reputation around the league for earning the respect of his players; guys have been told that players want to come here and play for Doug.
The Eagles don’t have the cap space to be super active in free agency but the allure of Pederson could potentially give the Eagles an edge when it comes to shopping for bargain bin guys.
THANKING THE FANS
The Eagles put out this video of players sending a message to the fans.