Crashing through the relatively quiet storm before Super Bowl week came a jarring report of Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman Josh Sills being indicted on rape and kidnapping charges. The undrafted rookie was charged with two first-degree felonies stemming from a 2019 incident in his native Ohio.
Sills, who saw only 4 snaps this season, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. The Eagles released the following statement:
The organization is aware of the legal matter involving Josh Sills. We have been in communication with the league office and are in the process of gathering more information. We have no further comment at this time.
The NFL officially placed Sills on the Commissioner Exempt List and barred him from participating in practices and games or travel with the team, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. The move all but ensures that the former Oklahoma State and West Virginia standout will not make the trip to Arizona with the Eagles for the Super Bowl.
According to the indictment, Sills “did engage in sexual conduct” with an unnamed victim and “purposely compelled her to submit by force or threat of force” on December 5, 2019. He was indicted on one felony count of rape and one felony count of kidnapping following an investigation by the Guernsey County Sheriff’s Office. The document was signed and stamped by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost. Sills is scheduled to appear in court on February 16, according to the January 31 summons, just days after the Eagles face the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2023 Super Bowl.
The NFL placed Sills on the Commissioner Exempt List on February 1, meaning he “may not participate in practices and games or travel with the team.”
Eagles Under Pressure on Social Media to Release Sills
Eagles fans were appalled by the accusations against Sills and took to Twitter in force to call for the team to release him. They don’t want the 25-year-old rookie to hang a dark cloud over their Super Bowl season.
Several people commented on an article detailing the Eagles’ donation of 30,000 sports bras to the tri-state area via their partnership with Operation Warm.
Eagles fans weren’t impressed. One person commented: “That’s cool but if you care about women you’ll cut Josh Sills.” Another agitated fan responded: “That time has passed. They don’t care enough, if they cut him now it’s a PR move.”
“Get Josh Sills off this Super Bowl #Eagles team!!” another person wrote in a separate tweet.
“release him immediately. nothing lost from his absence, nothing gained from having him still on the team,” another fan wrote.
Replacement Options Endless on Practice Squad
Cutting Sills wouldn’t hurt the Eagles’ depth too much along the offensive line. They have a wealth of talent on the practice squad, including the aforementioned Sua Opeta (6-foot-4, 305 pounds) who has appeared in 25 games (4 starts) over a three-year career. He would provide a plug-and-option for the active roster.
The Eagles also have center Cameron Tom (6-foot-4, 300 pounds) guard Tyrese Robinson (6-foot-3, 317 pounds), tackle Fred Johnson (6-foot-7, 326 pounds) and tackle Roderick Johnson (6-foot-6, 300 pounds) down on the practice squad.
Sills, a 6-foot-6, 325-pounder, flashed enough promise at training camp to snake a roster spot from veteran Jack Anderson. The team has also kept Sills on the active roster ahead of veteran Sua Opeta, who was waived on January 6 before returning to the practice squad.