Eagles Practice at the Linc Not a Smash Hit, but Still a Success

Eagles Practice at the Linc Not a Smash Hit, but Still a Success

For being Chip Kelly’s first full-contact practice, there wasn’t much hitting going on at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday. In fact, there wasn’t any tackling at all. Other than the players wearing pads for the first time this summer, and the bells and whistles that only a stadium experience can offer, this practice wasn’t very different from what’s been going on at the NovaCare Complex the past few days.

Well, that and the fact that instead of a few hundred spectators, the Eagles opened their doors to tens of thousands. But while roughly 65,000 tickets may have been reserved for Sunday’s show, less than half that number actually made it to their seats. According to team president Don Smolenski, there were more like 30,000 in the building.

Yet even though Chip’s version of a live practice was a tad underwhelming, and fans didn’t quite pack the house to the organization’s estimates, I wouldn’t go so far as to say either aspect was a bad thing.

While there wasn’t much in the way of collisions per se, the offensive and defensive lines were doing battle in the trenches, nor did receivers and defensive backs shy away from contact. Obviously the Eagles aren’t going to tear each other apart – they have two joint practices with the New England Patriots next week plus four preseason games to look forward to for that.

And the fact that it wasn’t totally packed provided a slightly more intimate experience for fans – not on the level of NovaCare certainly, but then again instead of being spread across three fields, practice at the Linc is condensed to just the one. Add in the introductions of a large cast of Eagles alumni that was headlined by Brian Dawkins and A.J. Feeley Donovan McNabb, and it added that little something extra to help make the whole affair memorable.

For being a slightly smaller turnout, the crowd was still lively and into practice. They applauded as the players started taking the field (especially for Jeremy Maclin), roared for the alumni introductions, and cheered for all of the big plays. It’s only practice, so there was some down time, but there was enough enjoyment to be gained to make it a worthwhile experience for those in attendance.

It should be noted that some fans may have chosen to stay home due to concerns over the weather. It was an overcast day, but thankfully it didn’t start raining until after practice. Unfortunately once it did start coming down, the huge storm caused the cancellation of an event on the field where fans could catch a pass from an Eagles alumni in attendance. Bummer.

Don’t forget that tickets and parking are completely free. There are still four more open practices schedule, and whether you’re a veteran of training camp at Lehigh, or simply find yourself jonesing for a football fix as we count down the days until the real thing gets underway, you really can’t go wrong at these events. Chances are you’re not going to see anything over the top, but it’s better than not seeing anything at all.

Union emotional after Maurice Edu's season-ending injury

Union emotional after Maurice Edu's season-ending injury

CHESTER, Pa. — On the eve of his comeback after missing nearly 13 months with a left tibia stress fracture and other related injuries, Union midfielder Maurice Edu fractured his left fibula on Saturday, keeping him out for the 2016 playoffs and beyond.

“I was trying to take the shot on goal and my foot got stuck in the turf,” Edu said Sunday, in his blue Union-issued suit and supported by crutches. “My ankle rolled and twisted and it kind of snapped a little bit. I heard it crack, and a lot of pain from there. I got a scan afterward, and there was a break.”

There's no timetable his return.

Edu, 30, has spent over a calendar year fighting various injuries that have kept him out of game action. His trouble began on Sept. 30, 2015, when he played through the U.S. Open Cup final with a partially torn groin and sports hernia. It was during Edu’s recovery from those injuries that he developed a stress fracture.

"A little bit frustration. A lot of frustration, to be honest," he said. "But all I can do now is get back to work, focus on the positives and make sure that my situation isn’t a distraction from the team."

Edu’s teammates were equally devastated by the news. Edu, the Union captain when healthy, is popular and well-respected in the locker room.

"I feel so bad for him," said Alejandro Bedoya, who wore a dedication to Edu under his jersey on Sunday. "He’s one of my good friends, so I was looking forward to playing alongside him. I know how hard he’s worked to get back, and to see him go out like that, it’s heartbreaking. I’m sad for his loss and I hope he stays strong."

Edu, who has been with the Union since 2014, returned to training in July and played three conditioning appearances with the Union’s USL team, Bethlehem Steel FC. He was on the bench for the Union’s last three games and was set to make his first appearance in over a year against the New York Red Bulls on Sunday, a game the Union eventually lost, 2-0 (see game story).

"We’re gutted for Mo," Union manager Jim Curtin said. "He was slated to start today. It’s real upsetting because he’s worked so hard to get back on the field. It’s been a tough 2016 for him, but I know he’ll come back stronger."

While he was visibly shaken by recent injury, Edu is driven to return.

"What happened, happened," Edu said. "I have no control over that. The only thing I do have control over is my next steps from here, how I prepare myself mentally and emotionally and how I continue to support this group."

Watch: Malcolm Jenkins saves Jon Dorenbos, who can't work his magic with bow tie

Watch: Malcolm Jenkins saves Jon Dorenbos, who can't work his magic with bow tie

The magician himself needed help on this one.

His bow tie.

Hey, this is what teammates are for, right?

On Monday night, Eagles longsnapper and NBC's America's Got Talent star Jon Dorenbos emceed safety Malcolm Jenkins' third annual Blitz, Bow Ties and Bourbon charity event, which raises money for Philadelphia's youth and underserved communities.

Dorenbos, quite the wizard with his hands and card tricks, couldn't solve the bow tie.

“I had no clue,” Dorenbos said in an interview with CSN's John Clark. "In fact, this is the first bow tie I’ve ever worn.”

Jenkins had his back. Watch the Eagles' leader go to work and save Dorenbos in the video above.