One man’s heart-breaking injury is another man’s once-in-a-lifetime opportunity — or something like that. Nathan Gerry, a fifth-round pick in 2017, has been turning heads early in Eagles training camp. Now he’s making a bold claim about being ready to assume a starting role at linebacker.
Gerry is penciled in at No. 2 at the right outside linebacker spot on the official depth chart. When the Eagles lost starter Kamu Grugier-Hill to a tough MCL sprain — an injury that will likely keep him out until October or November — the team had an immediate need to fill at linebacker. Gerry has wasted no time in staking his claim at the open spot.
“I want to be ‘the guy.’ I’ve always been the guy to make the calls on defense in my career,” Gerry told Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro. “I’ve been one of those ‘leader’ guys who has lined everybody up and taken that responsibility, so this is no different,” Gerry said. “It’s an audition for me. I look at it that way every day, really.”
Gerry bulked up 23 pounds in the offseason, increasing his weight from 212 pounds to 235 pounds. He’s been having a great camp and winning praise from both teammates and coaches. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz confirmed Gerry has been picking up the “verbal calls” perfectly in practice. Schwartz also reminded everyone that the third-year player has previously started for the Eagles at linebacker.
“We won some important games down the stretch last year with [LB] Nate [Nathan] Gerry as a starting linebacker for us,” Schwartz said earlier this week. “So we’re certainly confident putting him in games, and he has confidence in himself. One thing about him is you know he’ll be ready.”
As far as how he’s preparing for Thursday night’s preseason opener against Tennessee. Well, Gerry is treating it like an audition. He said he’s “seen enough” of the Eagles’ offense. He’ll likely start in Grugier-Hill’s spot Thursday night.
“I’m looking forward to playing Tennessee,” Gerry said. “I’ve seen enough of our offense and our guys. It’s time to see something different.”
Eagles Create Sensory Room at the Linc
The Philadelphia Eagles have always been at the forefront of innovation, especially when it comes to helping out fans with disabilities. On Wednesday, the organization announced it had opened a state-of-the-art sensory room.
The new initiative, in partnership with KultureCity and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, will “promote an accommodating and positive experience for all guests and fans with sensory challenges visiting Lincoln Financial Field.” The Eagles are one of the first professional sports franchise to build such a room in their home venue.
The sensory room, which officially opened at training camp on August 4, came about in the following way, according to PhiladelphiaEagles.com:
The sensory inclusive certification process entailed training for Eagles employees and Lincoln Financial Field staff by leading medical professionals. It included how to recognize guests with sensory needs and how to handle a sensory overload situation. Sensory bags equipped with noise-cancelling headphones, fidget tools, verbal cue cards and weighted lap pads are made available to all guests as part of their experience. The 500-square-foot, state-of-the-art sensory room has been carefully designed by top medical professionals to ensure a quieter and more secure environment.
“With the opening of Lincoln Financial Field in 2003, we made it an organizational priority to create a one-of-a-kind experience for guests in a safe, friendly and inclusive environment,” said Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, via PhiladelphiaEagles.com. “It is truly heartwarming to know that this state-of-the-art sensory room will now provide a sense of ease and comfort for families and loved ones who may be experiencing sensory challenges at Lincoln Financial Field.
“In this moment, we are creating a major shift from autism awareness to action, and it is all thanks to our compassionate and caring fans, Eagles Autism Challenge supporters, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and the autism community around the world.”