Joe Banner's Departure from Eagles Also Became Official Today

Joe Banner's Departure from Eagles Also Became Official Today

Joe Banner actually stepped down as Philadelphia Eagles president months ago, but remained with the organization in a consulting role -- until today. In all honesty, he was just biding his time while waiting to become part of an NFL ownership group, a goal Banner finally realized with the completion of Jimmy Haslam's acquisition of the Cleveland Browns on Tuesday.

Haslam received unanimous support from the league's 31 owners to purchase the Browns, then installed Banner as the organization's CEO effective immediately. That knocks Andy Reid's mentor Mike Holmgren out of the top job in Cleveland, and reports are he will "retire" upon this season's conclusion.

The timing is purely coincidence, yet simultaneously uncanny. Yesterday, 3-3 felt blah, like this season could still go either way. After Reid's dismissal of Juan Castillo this morning, there is suddenly a sense of chaos surrounding the team. On that note, Banner appears to be jumping ship at exactly the right moment, as this era of Eagles football quite possibly is beginning to circle the drain.

There was a belief held by many in the media that Banner was leaving for exactly this reason, that his power was dwindling, and all the while perhaps he could even foresee the direction things were headed. I'm still not sure that was the case. Banner needed a new challenge, and he'll have his work cut out for him in taking over a hapless franchise like the Browns, only with higher stakes.

Yet it's impossible not to look at the club's arc over Banner's time in Philadelphia, beginning when Jeffrey Lurie hired him in 1995 to where they find themselves today. As Banner moves on to lift another stagnant franchise out of the rubble, the organization he was so influential in building up in the first place is coming crashing back to earth it would seem.

Admittedly, that might be vastly overstating the magnitude of the two situations. After all, as of right now the Eagles are still a helluva lot closer to winning their first Super Bowl than Cleveland. But you have to ask yourself, will it be too far down the road before that's no longer the case?

Noel joins Sixers in New Orleans, may play Sunday in Detroit

Noel joins Sixers in New Orleans, may play Sunday in Detroit

NEW ORLEANS -- Nerlens Noel made another step toward his return from arthroscopic left knee surgery by joining the Sixers in New Orleans for their game against the Pelicans.

Noel arrived on Wednesday with Robert Covington, who is slated to start after missing the last three games with a left knee sprain. Noel is not cleared to play, but Brown doesn’t think it will be long until he suits up. 

“I don’t think far away,” Brown said of Noel’s regular season debut after shootaround.

When asked about the possibility of Noel playing this weekend when the Sixers face the Pistons on Sunday in Detroit, Brown replied, “Maybe.” 

Noel has missed the entire regular season recovering from elective surgery for an inflamed plica in October. He completed the first phase of his rehab in Birmingham, Ala. and has been continuing his work with the Sixers. This trip to New Orleans is the first time he has been with the Sixers on the road. 

“[He is] integrating with the team, studying a lot of tape, scripting with his teammates with the understanding that we have a chance to see him soon,” Brown said. “All that trying to ramp it up where he can go to an NBA court more comfortably.”

Noel spoke out about his displeasure with the Sixers crowded frontcourt at the start of the preseason. He recently stuck with his stance, saying, “I don’t think the roster’s changed.”

Brown is working to keep the team moving forward as a unit while still being aware of and recognizing Noel’s perspective. 

“It does,” Brown said when asked if Noel’s open frustration concerns him as it pertains to team cohesiveness. “But I feel like it’s so much a part of what we try do around here that it’s not like you’re going to blink and you’ve forgotten something that equals camaraderie, that equals team, that equals trying to keep this together, and you’ve left it for a week … 

“It’s a day-to-day focus for me and it’s a very candid conversation with me and the player. The team hears it, the individual hears it, we all understand it … We need to co-exist and we need to understand the reality of it all, too. There’s a human side you understand. It’s also pride, it’s competitiveness, it’s do your job, it’s nothing is given, you’ve got to take stuff, draw your own line in the sand, competitors rule the day.”

Last season Noel averaged 11.1 points and a team-high 8.1 rebounds per game. The Sixers will look forward to having him back on the court in that once-crowded frontcourt that is now shorthanded. Jahlil Okafor remained in Philadelphia with gastroenteritis. Ben Simmons still is rehabbing from a right Jones fracture. 

"Soon you’re going to see Ben Simmons coming to a team bench where he doesn’t come out with boots and have to push him in some type of wheely apparatus," Brown said. "We’ve dealt with so many injuries trying to find that balance of dealing with their health and so on, and then trying to integrate them back into a team is part of growing a program."

Flyers fans send amazing postcards to their beat writers

Flyers fans send amazing postcards to their beat writers

I like to give Flyers fans a bit of a hard time on occasion, but that's only because I love them.

One beautiful Flyers fan today reminded me of why I love them.

They took the time to send a postcard to's Flyers Insider -- and hater of the woo -- Tim Panaccio with one single word written on it.


Panotch says "Someone wasted a stamp and post card on this," but I say we just generated at least 50 cents in ad revenue from those of you that are reading this right now.

Money and time well spent.

Now, if you're not up on your wooing, Panotch penned a piece on how some fans wooing at games started annoying some of the players. Panotch hates the woo. BUT... and this is an important but... the Flyers are 6-0 since this all started.