Looming Le Toux Departure Hurts Fans, But It's a Textbook Buy Low, Sell High Move

Looming Le Toux Departure Hurts Fans, But It's a Textbook Buy Low, Sell High Move

I am still processing the report from Soccer By Ives that the Union are preparing to sell leading scorer Sebastien Le Toux to English Premier League side Bolton Wanderers, but here are my immediate thoughts.

It’s a bad time to be one of the most popular and recognizable players on a Philadelphia team (Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, and now Le Toux). Sebastien embodied everything Philadelphia fans want from its athletes. He never stopped hustling. His work rate was off the charts. His tireless running was almost comical. He never quit on a ball, never stopped making runs, and never gave up on a 50/50 ball.

Oh yeah, and he also put up numbers. In two seasons with the expansion Union he scored 25 goals and recorded 20 assists. To put that in perspective, the Union has scored 79 goals over its two year history. Le Toux either scored or assisted on 45 of them – that’s 57% of their goals scored.

Although we do not yet know the details in terms of the money Bolton will send the Union it stands to be an incredible return on investment. Looking at this from a purely objective economic perspective selling Le Toux is good business. The Union acquired Le Toux from Seattle in the MLS Expansion Draft. Seattle left him unprotected, the Union identified and valued his talent, and now they stand to cash in -– big-time.

His 2011 base salary was $155,000, with guaranteed compensation of $179,000. He’s 28 years old and is coming off of consecutive All-Star seasons. This is about as textbook a buy low, sell high scenario you will ever see.

Drafting UCLA forward Chandler Hoffman makes a bit more sense now. With Hoffman, Le Toux, Danny Mwanga, Jack McInereny, and newly acquired Josue Martinez the Union had a glut of forwards. In light of Le Toux’s departure fans may expect Hoffman to step right in and produce. In my opinion, the onus should fall on Mwanga and Martinez. It’s time for former first overall pick Mwanga to produce like a first XI player.

Who is the face of the franchise now? It’s tough to say. Danny Califf and Faryd Mondragon are certainly candidates to fill that role. They are both veterans who likely would not be too affected by carrying that responsibility.

Finally, I cannot imagine a better fit between expansion team, city, and player than the Union, Philadelphia, and Sebastien Le Toux. He was the perfect person to draw fans into a new Philadelphia soccer franchise. I am sure all Union fans will look back fondly at the time he spent here. It’ll be odd not hearing fans at PPL Park bellow “LeTouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuux”.

Tres bien, Seba. Tres bien.

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.