Nigel Bradham has slowly developed into one of the best linebackers on the Eagles’ roster. As the team’s starting middle linebacker, it’s his duty to relay the calls and control the defense.
Bradham had been dealing with a lingering foot injury, stemming from offseason surgery, but all indications were that he was fine and good to go for Week 1. The 30-year-old hasn’t appeared on the most recent injury reports, yet he was mysteriously missing from the team bus last Thursday as the Eagles headed to New York for the preseason finale and controversy quickly ensued about his whereabouts and his commitment to the football team.
Head coach Doug Pederson said the team isn’t planning to suspend him and he’ll be out on the field for Week 1. Bradham could still face a fine, perhaps a little slap on the wrist for not communicating better.
“Nigel and I have spoken,” Pederson told reporters. “We’ve handled it. It’s an internal issue. We’re in a good place and I’ll leave it at that.”
On Friday, Bradham took to Twitter to send a strong message out to his critics and doubters. The Eagles are already thin at the linebacker spot, so losing arguably their best starter there would be a huge blow for the defense.
What’s Eating Nigel Bradham?
The Inquirer reported the reason for his absence was due to a stomach sickness. Unfortunately, Bradham never informed the coaches and they were “livid.” They even offered to send a car to pick him up, but Bradham declined. Initially, the Eagles thought he had hopped a flight down to his hometown of Miami.
“I felt I had nausea,” Bradham told the Inquirer. “I threw up and I was in the bathroom a couple times. Nothing out of the ordinary, like a little bug, or a stomach virus. But they probably wanted me to still come up.”
Bradham is the team’s best run stopper and has collected 283 tackles, including 19 tackles for loss in three seasons in Philadelphia. He also has five sacks during that time span after coming over in free agency from Buffalo. He inked a five-year, $40 million in 2018 that was reported to be extremely “team-friendly” in nature.
As for the latest incident, Bradham admitted that he needs to do a better job of communicating with the coaching staff.
“Just communicate better, obviously,” Bradham said, via NBC Sports Philly. “But I wasn’t feeling well, so obviously I wasn’t really concerned with the phone and trying to reach out. That’s all it was.”
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