New Eagles linebacker was Abercrombie model, kicked out of school for mushrooms

New Eagles linebacker was Abercrombie model, kicked out of school for mushrooms

The Philadelphia Eagles continued going about their understated free agency plans by bolstering their special teams on Wednesday. The team signed safety Chris Maragos and linebacker Bryan Braman, two little-known players who are expected to upgrade the kick coverage units and compete for playing time on defense.

Braman is of particular interest. The 26-year-old tends to stand out at 6’5”, 241 pounds. Signed to a two-year deal worth $3.15 million ($1M guaranteed), the former Houston Texan is mostly here to contribute on special teams, but could compete for a role as a situational pass-rusher.

That’s not all though. Some of Braman’s shall we say hobbies away from the field might make folks take notice as well. Sheil Kapadia for Birds 24/7 unearthed this Houston Chronicle story by Texans beat John McClain from 2011 that makes mention of some interesting activities away from the football field. Presented without comment:

Before general manager Rick Smith offered him a contract, Braman, 24, worked for Abercrombie & Fitch in Los Angeles, modeled, attended some casting calls, got kicked out of West Texas A&M for manufacturing psilocybin (a hallucinogen) and worked as a bouncer in Amarillo and College Station.

Braman, who said he gets his size from a 7-4, 460-pound grandfather and disclosed that he keeps his dreadlocks that were cut by teammates at West Texas in a plastic bag, was fortunate that two people believed in him.

Braman worked as a bouncer during the NFL lockout and hoped a team would call. In June, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor possession of psilocybe mushrooms. He paid a $2,000 fine. Thirty days later, the prosecutor terminated the one-year probation, and his case was dismissed.

I’m sorry to say that Mr. Maragos is far less interesting. Signed to a three-year deal worth up to $5.2 million ($1M guaranteed), all this 27-year-old did was help the Seattle Seahawks win the Super Bowl this past season with his contributions on special teams. Boring.

Neither Maragos nor Braman has ever started a game in the NFL despite a combined seven years of service.

Along with the decision to re-up punter Donnie Jones for three years on Tuesday, the Eagles’ moves continue to show the tremendous value being placed on quality special teams. It’s not Jairus Byrd, but it’s not inconsequential, either.

>> Braman survives rough road to Texans [Houston Chronicle]

Report: Brett Brown accuses longtime friend of defrauding him of $750,000

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Report: Brett Brown accuses longtime friend of defrauding him of $750,000

Sixers head coach Brett Brown is in Australia this week, where he has accused longtime friend and former Australian men's national team assistant coach Shane Heal of defrauding him of $750,000, according to the Australian Associated Press.

Brown invested $250,000 into each of three companies for which Heal was the sole director. Brown wasn't given a legal title regarding the companies and didn't know the specifics of how the money would be used.

"I assumed that the money was going to be used for what Shane told me it was going to be used for," Brown said. "Because it was a friend that I had for 25 years."

Heal was charged last year by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission following an investigation relating to alleged misconduct in 2008, 2009 and 2010, according to the AAP.

The sides return to court in Brisbane on July 20.

Heal played in the NBA for the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1996-97 and was with the San Antonio Spurs in 2003.

Tonight's lineup: Odubel Herrera leads off; Cesar Hernandez (groin) out

Tonight's lineup: Odubel Herrera leads off; Cesar Hernandez (groin) out

A day after going 0 for 5 with five strikeouts, Odubel Herrera is leading off for the Phillies in their series opener Friday night against the Reds (see game notes).

It's the first time Herrera is leading off since last Aug. 19, a span of 84 games.

Cesar Hernandez gets the night off. He's been dealing with a groin pull for 10 days, manager Pete Mackanin said Friday.

Andres Blanco bats second and plays second.

Maikel Franco is back in the six-hole after going 1 for 5 with two strikeouts in the cleanup spot Thursday. Tommy Joseph bats fourth and Michael Saunders fifth.

Cameron Rupp, who walked three times in Thursday's win over the Rockies, catches Aaron Nola and bats seventh.

1. Odubel Herrera, CF
2. Andres Blanco, 2B
3. Aaron Altherr, LF
4. Tommy Joseph, 1B
5. Michael Saunders, RF
6. Maikel Franco, 3B
7. Cameron Rupp, C
8. Freddy Galvis, SS
9. Aaron Nola, P