Philadelphia Eagles veterans and rookies started showing up on Tuesday to begin COVID-19 testing prior to the start of training camp. Their first practice is scheduled for 10 a.m. tomorrow (July 28) at the NovaCare Complex in South Philly. The team shared images of select stars reporting in order to heighten anticipation.
First-round pick DeVonta Smith drew rave reviews from fans as he juggled a football over a flashing neon green stage during one photoshoot. Veterans Brandon Brooks and Miles Sanders busted out their best dance moves in a dual-player hype video. Fletcher Cox literally spit fire and Brandon Graham stared down the cameras. And Lane Johnson looked to be all business as he shouted “Back to School!” and carried a bookbag into the practice facility. The 2021 season is closer than ever.
The biggest question mark of the day was Zach Ertz. Would the three-time Pro Bowler report to camp on time as had been previously reported? Yes, Ertz was there and he’ll be in uniform for the first day of practice but his status for Week 1 is far from determined. The 30-year-old could still be traded before the start of the regular season on Sept. 12.
“I think just getting them [the players] in the building was beneficial so we could connect together,” head coach Nick Sirianni told reporters after spring OTAs. “And we just got great leaders on this team.
“And there’s no surprise that this organization has won a lot, a lot, a lot of football games in this past decade. It’s an amazing group of guys and a lot of these guys have been here for a while. It’s been great getting to know these guys in person.”
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Watch Out for UDFA Jhamon Ausbon
Texas A&M wide receiver Jhamon Ausbon went undrafted in April after opting out of the 2020 football season. The 6-foot-2, 217-pounder is a big-bodied, physical target who can bully opposing corners, something he did often during his breakout 2019 season for the Aggies.
Ausbon caught 66 balls for 872 yards while finishing second on the team with five receiving touchdowns that year. He was a team captain and earned two end-of-year awards: one for Offensive Leadership, another for Offensive Strength.
Bleacher Report named Ausbon the “Best Undrafted Free Agent” on the Eagles’ roster. They pointed to the contributions he can make as a “possession man, downfield blocker and special teamer.” There’s a chance he could push youngsters like John Hightower, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Quez Watkins for playing time. Maybe even steal a roster spot from one of those guys.
Tickets for Live Practices on Sale
The Eagles are holding two live practices for fans this summer at Lincoln Financial Field. The first one is scheduled for Aug. 8 (Sunday) at 7 p.m. and the second for Aug. 22 (Sunday) at 7 p.m. Tickets are on sale now for $10 (click here to purchase), with all proceeds benefiting Eagles Autism Foundation.
Live practices are annual events in South Philly, but the Eagles had to cancel the fundraisers last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. An estimated 40,000 attended in 2019 as part of Military Appreciation Night and the organization raised more than $475,000 for cutting-edge autism research.