Come on back, Eagles fans!
Jason Avant wants you back on the bandwagon!
Oh man listen, who am I to allow anybody back? Avant said. Listen, Im a guy who goes over the middle, and I dont have any type of authority. Anybody is welcome back.
Avant spoke at length before practice Thursday about comments he made exclusively to CSNPhilly.com after the Eagles-Cowboys game Sunday night at the Linc.
Avant, asked Sunday night whether the Eagles would maintain the same sense of desperation at 3-4 as they had at 1-4 and 2-4, said: We look at home games like road games. We like to get booed by our fans.
Then he addressed fans that he believes abandoned the team when it lost four straight games after opening the season with a win.
We dont want people jumping on our bandwagon now, Avant said. We want people to go out and still talk bad about us. (See story.)
Avants remarks did not go over well with Eagles fans, who took to blogs, message boards and radio stations to complain about Avant, who is generally about as uncontroversial as imaginable.
On Thursday, Avant said his remarks were misconstrued. He said he didnt intend to criticize fans, just to express how the Eagles were carrying the same sense of desperation and us-vs.-them attitude into the rest of the season despite winning their last two games.
"Lets get this clear I will not apologize for what I said. Its not an apology or anything like that, Avant said. What Im saying is, is that there are faithful fans, faithful Eagles fans, we love those fans. ... Im trying to motivate my teammates to keep focused. Weve got the underdog mentality and that's my opinion. ...
All are welcome to root for the Eagles. ... Its that whether people boo us, whether people talk about us, were willing to play through hard situations and thats what I mean by that. Its not a shot at the fans, like it was taken, more so its about motivating my team to say we have to be able to go out under any circumstances and play hard like we did last week.
Avant is one of the senior members of the Eagles, going back to 2006, and hes having another very good year as the Eagles third receiver. With 31 catches for 412 yards, hes on pace for career highs of 70 receptions for 941 yards.
Because of his work ethic, toughness, willingness to run across the middle, positive attitude and personal story of overcoming adversity he grew up in poverty in Chicago selling drugs as a teenager before turning his life around Avant has always been extremely popular in Philly.
That popularity took a hit this week.
I don't really care (if people boo), you know why? Avant said. Because I play my hardest. I play my hardest for Jesus Christ and for this team. You going to boo me for playing hard? You going to boo me for being the guy thats going to chase down the play when nobody else is running? You going to boo me for being the guy thats doing special teams or going over the middle and taking a big shot? Boo me for doing whats right? ...
Listen, I understand. This is what I do respect about Philadelphia fans. They're very, very knowledgeable, and I love playing before our fans. I want to win a championship for this city so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so bad. So I respect them and I love them as fans. What Im saying is that I go out, give everything I have and whatever was said, which I don't even remember half of it, its still my opinion, no matter if it was the worst thing in the world.
In classic Philly athlete style, Avant found a way to blame the media for his own comments.
Half of the stuff is you guys fault, Avant said. Im going to blame it on the media. Half of it is you guys fault for blowing it out of proportion.
E-mail Reuben Frank at email@example.com.