Arrelious Benn was happy to get out of Tampa

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Arrelious Benn was happy to get out of Tampa

When most players are asked to describe their reaction to a trade, most say they were surprised.

Arrelious Benn wasn't.

The Eagles last week acquired Benn from Tampa Bay and on Thursday signed the fourth-year wide receiver to a one-year extension through 2014. The 39th overall pick of the 2010 draft, Benn is still waiting to meet the expectations that come with being a second-round pick.

And he knew it wasn't going to happen in Tampa. So when he heard about the trade, Benn was pleased.

"I was excited," he said. "I'm from D.C. Quick ride up the street."

But that's not really why he was excited.

"I wanted to move forward," he said. "I didn't want to be there."

And the feeling was mutual.

"I was expecting [to be on a new team]," he said.

"I just needed a change of scenery. I just needed a fresh start. The situation just wasn't going right."

Benn started nine of 14 games played as a rookie with the Buccaneers, recording 25 catches for 395 yards and two scores. He started all 14 games he played in 2011, but his production increased only moderately -- 30 for 441 and three.

Last season he had four receptions for 26 yards in eight game (one start) before being placed on injured reserve because of knee and shoulder injuries. Or maybe there was more to it.

"My shoulder wasn't an issue," he said. "My knee really wasn't an issue, but things need to be done. I ended up on I.R. I took it. I'm bouncing back."

That said, Benn doesn't deny that injuries have been an issue for him. He suffered a torn ACL in Week 16 of his rookie season, a concussion in 2011 and a sprained MCL last year in training camp.

Regardless of whether he should have been on I.R. or not last year, he blames injuries for his unfulfilled potential.  

"To be honest with you, I don't like my career. I've got to stay healthy," he said. "I've had a problem with injuries. When I was healthy out there, I made plays. I was consistent. The big thing for me is to stay healthy. It's no secret. I know that. I'm going to be honest with myself and just come in here and do what I've got to do. The old [way] wasn't working, so I'm finding new ways to stay healthy -- doing the little things that I've got to do."

Like what?

"Maybe not being so physical -- the little things that I do," the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Benn said. "Go down sometimes. That's pretty much it."

But being physical is a key part of his game.

"Get the ball in my hands, [I'm] a guy that can run after the catch," he said.

Which makes him a candidate to not only play outside -- where he's normally played -- but also in the slot.

"I think I have the skill set to play both," he said. "I think I'm a mismatch in the slot with my speed and size."

That makes him an attractive red zone option, which the Eagles have sorely lacked. They've also lacked a prolific kick returner. Benn can do that, too. Last season he returned 13 kickoffs for 306 yards (average of 23.5) with a long of 55.

But the only way he'll be able to do any of those things is if he stays healthy.

"Injuries were the thing [last year]. That's the past," he said. "I really don't even care too much about it. I'm looking forward. I'm an Eagle now."

And he's healthy:

"I'm as healthy as healthy can be."

Temple's youth shows again as lead slips away late in loss to UConn

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Temple's youth shows again as lead slips away late in loss to UConn

BOX SCORE

Temple’s Sunday tilt with UConn at the Liacouras Center was the embodiment of a young team trying to find its way.

The Owls had a double-digit lead against one of the hottest teams in the nation, thanks in part to their young guys producing in pivotal moments in the game.

However, the inability to finish cost Temple again, as the Owls allowed Jalen Adams to convert a reverse layup with 2.9 seconds remaining in a 64-63 loss to the Huskies (see Instant Replay).

“It’s hard,” Temple Head Coach Fran Dunphy said after the loss. “We have two of these now. We have Tulsa (70-68 on Jan. 14) and Connecticut at the buzzer at home. There’s not a lot to say.

“If we all make one better decision, including me, whether it’s a defensive set, a substitution or whatever. They hold onto the ball, they get a rebound, they make a shot, whatever it happens to be. We all make one better decision and we’re coming away with two great wins in Tulsa and UConn and not sitting here after two tough losses.”

After UConn hit a three to tie the game at 60, Temple freshman Quinton Rose made a huge three-pointer of his own to put the Owls back up 63-60 with 2:32 left in the game.

With Temple (14-14, 5-10 AAC) still clinging to a three-point lead, sophomore Shizz Alston, Jr. came up with a huge offensive rebound, only to turn it over with 1:08 left on the clock. Adams came up with the steal and raced up the court, but was fouled by Rose while attempting a dunk.

Following Adams’ two makes at the free-throw line, Temple’s lead was trimmed to just 63-62. On the ensuing possession, senior Daniel Dingle was fouled by UConn guard Rodney Purvis.

Dingle missed the front end of a one-and-one set at the line, which set the stage for Adams’ acrobatic shot to give the Huskies (14-12, 9-5 AAC) their seventh win in the last eight games.

“We knew they were going to come off that high ball screen with Adams,” Dunphy said. “We needed to sit down and keep him in front of us. One guy could have helped a little bit more than he did. It would have been a drive and kick for an open jumper, but it would have been better than [a layup]. The other guy just needs to sit down on that play and keep Adams in front of him, but we knew that ball screen was coming.”

“I honestly thought the ball was going to Purvis because he made the last three shots, so I did my best to deny him,” Dingle said. “[Adams] did a fantastic move.”

Things had been going Temple’s way for a majority of the night. The Owls led for the vast majority of game time thanks in part to 5 of 9 shooting from three in the first half, which gave them a 35-29 halftime lead. The lead increased to 56-46 with 8:29 left in the contest.

Dingle’s all-around play and leadership helped push Temple ahead. Freshmen Damien Moore and Alani Moore II combined for 22 points on 9 of 10 shooting.

However, the Owls went cold late. Temple made only 2 of 12 three-point shots in the second half.

UConn's day went in the opposite direction as the Huskies shot a blistering 54.2 percent in the second half and 62.5 percent from downtown. Purvis poured in 13 of his game-high 18 after intermission.

“The younger guys are doing very well,” said Dingle, who finished with 17 points, six rebounds and six assists. “We’re going to learn how to win. They’re doing a great job. It just so happens that we let one get away again.”

The Owls have made close defeats a habit. Sunday marked their fifth loss this season by five points or less.

These type of losses are the reason why Temple is in the eighth spot in the American Athletic Conference. With three regular-season games left and the AAC conference tournament quickly approaching, this Temple team, which holds victories over No. 9 West Virginia and No. 17 Florida State, will need to start showing the same promise it had earlier in the season to keep alive any dreams of dancing in the NCAA Tournament.

“I definitely talk to the guys about having that sense of urgency,” Dingle said. “For me, time is running out, so that’s the sense of urgency I’ve got. We’ve got to get there as a whole. I say that in the huddle, ‘We’ve got to get there.’ I remember being a freshman to now I’m in my fifth year. Time is not waiting, so every game we’ve got to go out there and play like it’s our last.

“The sense of urgency I think is all right but it has to increase. In order for us to get an opportunity to play in the NCAA [Tournament] – that’s something I want to do and I know the team wants bad for us as a whole and definitely for the seniors. Coach talks about the sense of urgency has to pick up.”

Future Eagle (?) Latavius Murray posts workout with Carson Wentz on Instagram

Future Eagle (?) Latavius Murray posts workout with Carson Wentz on Instagram

Could the Eagles be interested in signing another top free agent running back named Murray?

No, not that guy. 

Oakland/Los Angeles/Las Vegas Raiders running back Latavius Murray.

Murray posted a picture on Instagram of the soon-to-be free agent working out with Carson Wentz with the caption "im just here to help."

"im just here to help"

A post shared by Latavius Murray (@lataviusmurray) on

It's no surprise the Eagles can stand to upgrade their running back corps this offseason — as several mock drafts have suggested. Could Murray be the answer?