Flyers-Rangers Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park? More Reports Name Philadelphia as Next Host

Flyers-Rangers Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park? More Reports Name Philadelphia as Next Host

The Flyers have never been far from the rumors surrounding the next NHL Winter Classic, and once again, they have been linked to hosting it. This time, the report seems to be getting some additional traction, with the latest mention coming from TSN's Darren Dreger. We previously linked to Daily News beat Frank Seravalli's similar report from April 21, and before that, Pierre LeBrun's January 2 report that the Flyers were the frontrunners to host in 2012.

Although it's previously been reported that the NHL now prefers football stadiums to their baseball counterparts for the outdoor game, when the NFL's schedule was announced, the Eagles' regular season finale at Lincoln Financial Field on New Year's Day (should the NFL season be played as scheduled) presumably took the Linc off the list of possible venues. The Winter Classic will likely be played on a subsequent day, with no one wanting to pit their ratings magnet against an NFL Sunday, particularly one with playoff implications. However, Dreger has sources saying the Flyers are the leading candidate to host the Classic, with the New York Rangers the likely opponent. [UPDATE BELOW includes report of confirmation]

That would mark two appearances in the early years of the Winter Classic for the Flyers, with the first coming against the Bruins at Fenway on New Year's Day, 2010. If the Flyers were to host the next edition, they'd likely do so at Citizens Bank Park on January 2, a Monday.

An interesting twist on the Classic emerged last time around, with the the two teams involved being the subject of HBO's excellent "24/7" edition on the teams leading up to and including the Classic. It would obviously be interesting to see the Flyers in that light, and as Dreger points out, Rangers coach John Tortorella would play a prominent role if New York is to be the opponent. As if we needed more hate fuel for the Rangers or Torts…

Of course, we've heard these "sources say it's possible" rumors before, but we've yet to get anything resembling actual confirmation. [Until now. See below] A production of this size requires a lot of different people in a handful of organizations working in unison, including team officials in another sport. So far, no one local is talking in definitive terms, although this isn't the first or even second report linking the Flyers to hosting the next Winter Classic. Someone's putting it out there ahead of the news, now in both Philly and a prominent Canadian news source.

In any case, it's a nice distraction from the sloppy end to the Flyers' playoff "run" and the murkiness that has ensued since. What are your thoughts on the Flyers hosting a Classic at Citizens Bank Park, the Rangers as the opponent, and the matchup being featured on HBO's 24/7?

UPDATE: Wayne Fish of Calkins Media and PhillyBurbs.com tweets that an NHL source has confirmed the Flyers will host the 2012 Winter Classic. More as we hear it.

Previously:
>>Flyers, Lincoln Financial Field Front-Runners to Host 2012 Winter Classic?
>>Latest Rumors Suggest Flyers Could Play 2012 Winter Classic At Citizens Bank Park

Hall of Fame defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy dies at 48

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AP Images

Hall of Fame defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy dies at 48

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Hall of Fame defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy has died in Orlando.

Police say the 48-year-old former Seattle Seahawks star was found dead on Tuesday morning.

Orlando Police Department public information officer Wanda Miglio said the circumstances surrounding his death are still unknown, but that there is nothing suspicious about his death. An investigation is being conducted.

One of the best defensive lineman of his generation, Kennedy was a star in his 11 seasons in the NFL with the Seahawks. He became the second Seattle player inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012. He was an unmovable wall as a dominant defensive tackle, and a quiet, gentle soul away from the field never interested in finding himself in the spotlight.

Kennedy was an eight-time Pro Bowler and won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award in 1992.

"Really sad to lose a guy like Cortez Kennedy," Broncos' general manager John Elway tweeted Tuesday. Elway was chased around by Kennedy twice a year for much of the 1990s as competitors in the AFC West. "A great personality, a great player and I enjoyed competing against him."

Even though he last played for the Seahawks in 2000, he remained a significant part of the organization. He was a mainstay around the team during training camp and would occasionally roll through the locker room during the regular season grabbing a few minutes with anyone -- players, coaches, media -- up for a chat.

"My heart hurts," current Seahawks offensive lineman Justin Britt tweeted. "We lost a truly great player but even better person."

10 observations from Day 1 of Eagles' OTAs

10 observations from Day 1 of Eagles' OTAs

There was finally some football in South Philly on Tuesday as the Eagles kicked off the first round of their OTAs. 

Aside from a few notable absences -- Fletcher Cox, Jason Peters, Donnie Jones -- the Eagles had just about everyone on the field (see story)

Here are 10 observations from Tuesday's practice: 

1. Here's how the first-team offense looked: 
QB: Carson Wentz
RB: LeGarrette Blount
TE: Zach Ertz
OL (left to right): Lane Johnson, Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Halapoulivaati Vaitai
WR: Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, Jordan Matthews

2. Here's how the first-team defense looked: 
LDE: Brandon Graham
LDT: Destiny Vaeao
RDT: Tim Jernigan
RDE: Vinny Curry
LBs: Jordan Hicks, Nigel Bradham, Mychal Kendricks
S: Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod
CB: Jalen Mills, Patrick Robinson. 

Note: In the nickel package, rookie third-rounder Rasul Douglas came on the field as an outside cornerback and Mills slid into the slot. 

3. Early in the practice, in an offense-only drill, the Eagles were trying to audible into a new play, but there was some confusion with Blount, who didn't seem to know the play. Blount is still obviously learning the playbook, but it shows the respect they have for him that he was working with the ones already. 

4. The play the Eagles wanted to get into during that drill was a good one. Wentz rolled out to his right and found Jeffery streaking across the field. The two seem to be getting on just fine. 

Although later in 11-on-11s, Wentz tossed up an ill-advised pass deep to Jeffery in tight coverage and the ball was picked by McLeod. Jeffery will win a lot of battles, but that one was too much. 

5. Linebacker Joe Walker and cornerback Ron Brooks were on the field on Tuesday but didn't participate in team drills. Walker (ACL) and Brooks (quad tendon) are both recovering from significant injuries. 

6. The Eagles lined up a few times with Darren Sproles and Donnel Pumphrey on the field together. Those few times, Sproles was in the backfield and Pumphrey lined up in the slot. It's early, but we might get to see some creativity from Doug Pederson with these two this year. 

7. Dillon Gordon, whom the Eagles signed as an undrafted rookie last year, did something interesting on Tuesday. The offensive tackle, who played tight end in college, took a few reps at tight end in limited offensive drills. That's intriguing because if he could play the role of an extra tackle during the season, he'd have something Matt Tobin doesn't: the ability to actually become a receiver, not just an eligible one. 

8. Robinson, who is getting run at corner with the first team, won a jump ball with Dorial Green-Beckham on a deep ball. It was an impressive play by Robinson, but DGB mistimed his jump. 

The best defensive play of the day came from Najee Goode in 7-on-7s. The veteran backup linebacker and special teamer dropped back and dove backward to break up a pass off the hand of Nick Foles. 

9. Obviously, there's no hitting yet, but Derek Barnett had a good first day going against the vets. Sure, Lane Johnson completely shut him down on one play, but Barnett showed off a variety of moves. 

10. The Eagles' two rookie receivers worked with the third team on Tuesday, while DGB and Nelson Agholor worked with the twos. Shelton Gibson showed off his quickness and Mack Hollins' size and speed combo wasn't any less impressive. Also, Hollins wasn't wearing gloves, but it didn't seem to affect his ability to catch. 

Stupid observation of the day: Thanks to his afro and thick beard, Seumalo kind of looks like a lion with a mane.