Every media outlet has something to say about Birds like Nick Foles and Brandon Boykin — even the Four-Color Scrapbook for the Two-Facelift Family
By Theodore N. Beitchman
This is the Silly Season for Eagles fans — no more OTA’s and mini-camps, and training camp is still more than two weeks away.
So there is all manner of silliness passing for news that involves Eagles and Eagles past.
Former Eagles like DeSean Jackson, cut by the Birds in March and snapped up by the Redskins, made the cover of the June 27 issue of ESPN the Magazine in a prayerful pose — “From Rumors to Released to Redeemed (by a new $24 million deal) in 6 Days” is the cover line on The Comeback Issue.
An excerpt from the article, which focuses on Jackson’s character, written by Cord Jefferson:
“HERE IS WHAT DeSean Jackson will say about the gang rumors: Does he know people in gangs? Yes. Does he associate with “certain people” from time to time? Yes. Is he in a gang himself? No, nor has he ever been. The “troubling associations” described in an NJ.com article on March 28, the day Jackson was released, centered largely on his relationship with Theron Shakir, a rapper signed to Jackson’s Jaccpot Records music label. (Jackson raps as a hobby.) In 2010, Shakir and a man named Marques Binns were arrested and charged with a gang-related homicide. Shakir was acquitted of the crime in 2013, and Binns, who was convicted and is now serving 15 years to life, told NJ.com that he does not know DeSean Jackson.”
The piece makes a parenthetical reference to Birds coach Chip Kelly telling reporters Jackson was cut only for football reasons, and of course there is no mention of:
Jackson’s attitude on the field, his dust-ups with the team’s coaches, his avoidance of tackling or the fact that as good as he was he was worthless in the Red Zone.
Then there was the arrest of former Bird QB Kevin Kolb for boating while intoxicated in Texas.
I guess when you are the world’s luckiest man — selected by QB genius Andy Reid, foisted upon the Birds and their fans even though you have a rag arm and are too slow to avoid the rush, which somehow translated into a series of contracts worth around $40 million — you have to somehow fill your time with drinking while driving a boat.
One local dimwitted writer even wrote that Kolb’s troubles would somehow take the onus off of Lane Johnson, the Eagles’ second-year tackle, who was suspended for four games for testing positive to a performance-enhancing drug.
Really? The antisocial behavior of a former Eagle will make Birds fans forget about Johnson’s irresponsibility?
Let’s see how fans at the Linc react when Johnson gets to play in Week 5 against the Rams on Oct. 5.
Next up in this Silly Season Bonanza was Pete Prisco, CBSSports.com senior columnist, who compiled a list of the most overrated and underrated players on each of the 32 NFL teams.
He wrote that QB Nick Foles was the most overrated Eagles — “Let’s slow the train down some, OK. He did some good things last season, but you’d think he was a star already. It takes time. Let’s see him do it again. Not saying he can’t, but let’s see it again.”
And he chose Brandon Boykin as the most underrated — “He doesn’t start, but as the nickel corner he is a key to their defense. Boykin doesn’t have the size to be a full-time starter outside, but he is plenty good on the inside.”
Prisco made the foul mistake of appearing on WIP to flack his piece. Unfortunately, NFL Hall of Fame writer Ray Didinger handed him his head on both counts and proved that Prisco is just another national writer who comments about Philly sports from 35,000 feet without knowing the facts on the ground. A common occurrence.
Last but by no means least on this parade of hype was Philadelphia magazine, the Four-Color Scrapbook for the Two-Facelift Family.
Philly mag chose to put Nick Foles on the cover of its July issue with a cover line— WHO IS NICK FOLES? Unfortunately, the Eagles wouldn’t allow Foles to be interviewed by the writer, the incomparable Buzz Bissinger. But Buzz, who won a Pulitzer Prize for the Inquirer in the 1980s and made his literary bones with “Friday Night Lights,” knows a thing or two about Texas football. He did his homework by going to the Austin burbs where Foles grew up in the shadow of Drew Brees. An excerpt:
“In a school of remarkable achievement and affluence, Nick Foles perfectly fit the Westlake socioeconomic profile and was its BMOC. He was the quarterback of its football team, the Chaparrals, on their way to the Texas state championship game in the highest 5-A classification. He was equally gifted in basketball; he’d started as a freshman. His girlfriend, Lauren Farmer, was a standout cheerleader and homecoming queen. Nick Foles was the middle.”
Great writing from a great journalist. However, without an interview today, eight years after he played at Westlake, the piece is strictly anthropology. So the cover line should have been:
“WHO WAS NICK FOLES?”