Eagles Postpone Major Offseason Event Due to COVID-19

Jeffrey Lurie

Getty Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie bought the Eagles in 1994.

As the novel coronavirus continues to spread across the country, teams are taking drastic measures and canceling major events.

The NFL has already pulled the plug on their glitzy live draft event in Las Vegas, although it will still go on in a different style and format starting on April 23. Commissioner Roger Goodell also sent a memo out and ordered all 32 teams to shut down their facilities for at least two weeks. That means no physicals for incoming free agents and no scouts on the road to interview possible draft picks. It’s the harsh new reality that everyone is facing.

On Thursday, the Philadelphia Eagles announced they would be postponing their annual Eagles Autism Challenge from May 16 to an undetermined date. The family-friendly fundraiser is the franchise’s marquee offseason event and has generated nearly $7 million since 2018. Autism has been the adopted charity of choice for the organization and something owner Jeffery Lurie takes great pride in supporting. Approximately one in 59 people are living with autism in the United States.

Many coaches and players take part in the Eagles Autism Challenge while mingling and interacting with fans. The event features a mixture of endurance and distance challenges, including a 5K walk and a bicycle race. The Eagles watched 4,000 participants compete in last year’s edition.

“While we were all looking forward to an exciting and transformational day on May 16, the safety and well-being of our community, event participants and staff comes first,” said Ryan Hammond, Executive Director of the Eagles Autism Foundation. “We are closely monitoring developments and will continue to make all necessary adjustments based on the recommendations of medical experts. More information about the potential date and details of the event will be announced at the appropriate time. We appreciate everyone’s patience, understanding, and support.”

Jeffery Lurie Continues to Champion Autism

The Eagles have long been applauded for their outstanding charity work and community-driven betterment programs. The organization never brags about it but its continued support of both national and local non-profits, like the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Alex’s Lemonade Stand, hasn’t gone unnoticed.

It all stems from the top with Jeffrey Lurie. The good-natured owner was honored in 2019 with the Commitment to Cures Award from the American Brain Foundation for his amazing work in raising awareness for autism, the fastest-growing developmental disorder in the country. Lurie holds autism close to his heart since his brother, Peter, was diagnosed when he was six years old. His mother taught him to view autism as a “gift,” according to a recent interview.

“When you have some suffering in your own family, you don’t want other people to have that same suffering,” Lurie told the team’s official website. “You focus on things that might alleviate or prevent that suffering in others. It’s hard to describe, but you don’t want others to feel sad. I want everyone to feel confident in what they’re doing.”

Lurie started the Eagles Autism Challenge in 2018 and has watched it grow from 3,000 participants in 2018 to 4,000 participants in 2019. They have raised more than $7 million for cutting-edge autism research and care for leading Philadelphia institutions during that span. This year, they were on pace to shatter those numbers and hopefully can reschedule the event after the COVID-19 pandemic ends.

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