Philadelphia Eagles

Alshon Jeffery doesn't feel behind after missing time during Eagles camp

Alshon Jeffery doesn't feel behind after missing time during Eagles camp

On Saturday afternoon, Eagles receivers coach Mike Groh said he thought big free-agent pickup Alshon Jeffery was a little behind after missing time this training camp.

Jeffery doesn't agree.

"Not at all," Jeffery said Sunday. "But at the same time, missing a few practices here and there just getting some timing down — I'll be all right."

Jeffery missed considerable time this summer, first with a shoulder injury and then because Doug Pederson used his "discretion" to hold the star receiver out of practice.

After missing practice time, Jeffery also missed the first preseason game in Green Bay. He did play Thursday night against the Bills with mixed results. He caught a couple passes for 23 yards but also made some mistakes.

"I think he's behind," Groh said Saturday. "Anytime you miss the amount of time he did. He's a little bit behind but fortunately, we have time for him to catch up on all that. I thought they got off to a good start the other night."

On one play in particular, instead of running a corner route, Jeffery ran an out. Similar … but not the same. Groh said it was Jeffery's responsibility to know the route but said in a non-game plan week, the team probably didn't practice it. And it was possible Jeffery's missed time led to the mix-up.

On Sunday, Jeffery just saw it as a mistake.

"It's the game of football," he said. "Every once in a while you're going to run a wrong route, make some mistakes on a few plays. But I'll be all right."

The most important thing for Jeffery over the next three weeks before the start of the regular season is building his chemistry with Carson Wentz. While the two have been together now since the spring and Jeffery went to North Dakota with the other receivers, there's still a feeling-out process going on.

Groh said there's not a normal amount of time for quarterbacks and receivers to get on the same page, but did note Wentz and Jeffery take extra reps together during special teams periods in an attempt to catch-up.

A big part of Jeffery's game is timing routes like fades. When asked if it takes even longer to build chemistry with a receiver like that, Groh had a different theory.  

"I think it may take less time with really good players," he said. "They just kind of have a feel for each other. One of the things that has helped Alshon be a productive player, I think his body language is very easy to read and judge for quarterbacks. When he and Carson get out here and Carson starts to learn that body language, where he likes the ball, with the accuracy Carson can throw with, it'll probably work out well."

For the next two days, Jeffery will get a chance to look across the field to the other sideline and see a guy who he once built that chemistry with. Jay Cutler, who was Jeffery's QB in Chicago, is now the starter for the Dolphins, who will be in town for two joint practices in advance of Thursday's game at the Linc.

Jeffery said it'll be a little weird to see Cutler, but he's looking forward to catching up with his old teammate, whom he played with from 2012 through last season.

How long did it take for him and Cutler to forge chemistry?

"Over time and over years," Jeffery said. "We were together for a long time so when we'd line up, I'd know what he wants and he knows what I like. It takes time over years. We'd been together five years."

A staple of the Chicago offense with Cutler and Jeffery were back-shoulder throws, ones that can be completed only when the quarterback and receiver are in sync.

Eventually, the Eagles hope Wentz and Jeffery will get them down too.

"In time. In due time," Jeffery said. "Each and every practice we get better. In due time, it'll get better."

NFL Notes: Aaron Hernandez had severe CTE; daughter sues NFL, Patriots

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NFL Notes: Aaron Hernandez had severe CTE; daughter sues NFL, Patriots

BOSTON -- Former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez had a severe case of the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy, his lawyer said on Thursday in announcing a lawsuit against the NFL and the team for hiding the true dangers of the sport.

Dr. Ann McKee, the director of the CTE Center at Boston University, said Hernandez had Stage 3 (out of 4) of the disease, which can cause violent mood swings, depression and other cognitive disorders.

"We're told it was the most severe case they had ever seen for someone of Aaron's age," attorney Jose Baez said.

Hernandez killed himself in April in the prison cell where he was serving a life-without-parole sentence for murder. Baez said Hernandez had shown signs of memory loss, impulsivity and aggression that could be attributed to CTE (see full story).

Jets: Williams limited with bone bruise in wrist
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- New York Jets defensive lineman Leonard Williams was limited at practice with a wrist injury that he says is a bone bruise.

Williams was originally injured during the preseason, and says Thursday that his wrist is bothering him at times. It doesn't appear that the injury will keep him out of the Jets' home opener Sunday against Miami, but Williams might have to play through it.

Defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson sat out practice for the second straight day with a sore shoulder. He said Wednesday that it wasn't a big deal, and coach Todd Bowles says the Jets will see how it feels as the week goes along.

Starting right guard Brian Winters (abdomen) and tight ends Jordan Leggett (knee) and Eric Tomlinson (elbow) also didn't practice. Fourth-year backup Dakota Dozier would start if Winters is unable to play (see full story).

Packers: Perry latest key player to go down with injury
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The banged-up Green Bay Packers have lost another key player to injury with outside linebacker Nick Perry scheduled to have hand surgery.

Coach Mike McCarthy says he doesn't know how much time Perry will miss. He was off to a good start as the bookend to fellow edge rusher Clay Matthews with 1 sacks.

The Packers' first-round draft pick in 2012, Perry had a breakout 2016 last season with 11 sacks in 14 games.

The loss of Perry places added importance on the return of Ahmad Brooks, who was a full participant in practice on Wednesday after missing the Week 2 loss at Atlanta because of a concussion (see full story).

Broncos: Miller baffled by low hit from Cowboys receiver
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Von Miller says he's baffled by Cowboys wide receiver Noah Brown's low hit on him Sunday.

The Broncos linebacker pushed through Brown's block on the game's second snap and Brown got up and dived at Miller's knees as Denver's star chased down Ezekiel Elliott on a hand-off from Dak Prescott.

Miller shook off the hit to have a monster game in Denver's 42-17 win , but he has dealt with soreness in his left knee this week.

"My stance is as a player I've always tried to take care of my players on my football team and opponents as well, whether it's the quarterbacks, receivers, the running backs. So, when it's the other way around, it's just baffling," Miller said Thursday after returning to practice full-time following a limited practice Wednesday.

"But you can't really spend too much time on it," Miller added. "Everybody's situation in the National Football League is different. Everybody doesn't have the same outlook that I have and some of my comrades in the National Football League (have). Everybody doesn't see it that way. Everybody doesn't play the game like I play the game. You've got to respect that."

Earlier in the week, Broncos coach Vance Joseph declined to criticize the Cowboys wide receiver for his low hit, saying, "I saw it. It wasn't called. I'm OK with it."

Miller shook off the low hit and finished the afternoon with two sacks, five quarterback hits, two tackles for loss and a pass breakup.

Chris Long: Putting 'my money where my mouth is' with donation of game checks

Chris Long: Putting 'my money where my mouth is' with donation of game checks

Whether it was his passionate defense of Colin Kaepernick, his show of support for Malcolm Jenkins' raised fist by draping his arm around his teammate during the national anthem or his strong words about racism and violence in his hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia, Chris Long has been extraordinarily outspoken since he joined the Eagles.

Now he's more than outspoken.

"I had a few people that were like, 'Hey, these gestures are great but why don’t you guys get out there in your communities?'" Long said.

So he is.

Long announced via his Twitter account earlier this week that he plans to donate his first six game checks from this year's salary — more than $350,000 — to create two scholarships for students in Charlottesville.

At his locker on Wednesday, he explained what led to the remarkably generous gesture.

"My wife and I have been investing in scholarships in my hometown for a while," Long said. "I'm interested in education, always have been, and … the best way I can give back to something I love is take it out of my game check, because what I love doing is playing football.

"I could [fund the scholarship] another way, but just taking it out of my game check makes it real easy for me to realize why I’m coming to work every day. It’s been a blessing."

Long, 32, is in his 10th NFL season and first with the Eagles. He's the son of Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long, who graduated from Villanova in 1981.

Chris Long had his first sack as an Eagle Sunday against the Chiefs. He now has 59½ in his career.

"I’ve been lucky," Long said. "I’ve made a lot of money in my career, so it’s not like I’m scrapping check to check. This isn’t a hero thing. It’s nothing like that. It’s honestly just that I want to put my money where my mouth is.

"It’s something we’ve done before, but we’re upping the ante this time."

Long signed a two-year, $4.5 million contract with the Eagles this offseason after winning a Super Bowl ring with the Patriots last year, the first time he's ever played for a team with a winning record.

His 2017 base salary is $1 million, which means each of his 17 game checks equal $58,823. Six game checks equal $352,941.

Long said being able to donate that kind of money makes the game more meaningful for him.

“It for certain does," he said. "It means a lot to go out and play football every Sunday. To be honest, I would play games for free. The thing I wouldn’t do for free is sit in meetings and do practice every day.

"Honestly, it’s a joy no matter what. But just knowing that the game checks are going to that makes it more special for me. You know, 10th year, you don’t know how long you’ll be able to do this, so your platform is really important and meaningful now. You don’t know how meaningful it’ll be in a year or two.”

Long said he's not done yet, either.

His foundation — the Chris Long Foundation — has more charity work in store in the coming weeks.

"My foundation is going to launch another campaign this year that’s going to be similar that’s hopefully going to have some fan involvement," Long said.

"It’s going to be broader reaching than just a couple kids getting scholarships, so I’m excited about that."