Cary Williams on Patriots: 'They are cheaters'

ap-cary-williams-bill-belichick-eagles-patriots.jpg

Cary Williams on Patriots: 'They are cheaters'

Later this month, the Eagles will head to Foxboro for a series of joint practices against the Patriots leading up to their preseason game. Last year, the Patriots came to Philly for the same purpose.

Eagles cornerback Cary Williams made it clear Friday that he’s no fan of practicing against other teams, especially the Patriots, the culprits of the “Spygate” scandal.

“They are cheaters,” Williams said. “They are.”

In 2007, the Pats were fined $250,000 by the NFL and docked a 2008 first-round pick for illegally videotaping opponents’ defensive signals. Head coach Bill Belichick, who’s still the head coach, was fined an additional $500,000.

Williams, whose disdain for the Patriots goes back to his days with the arch-rival Ravens and their heated playoff showdown, said there’s no benefit to practicing against other teams, especially a team with New England’s “history.”

“You don’t wanna give any — I don’t care whether it’s the Patriots or it’s the the dang Bengals, whoever it is — you don’t want to give them an opportunity to look at your stuff,” he said. “That’s just me, from a personal standpoint. I don’t want to show none of my cards.

“So to me it’s not benefiting us because they’ve already proven who they are (from Spygate), that’s their history. And I don’t like them, not only because of that, but because I just don’t like them. I played them three of four times in a row [in the playoffs].”

Williams said he also hates the Steelers, one of Baltimore’s division rivals, and is developing a distaste for other NFC East teams, but he reserved the “cheaters” label exclusively for the Patriots and noted their Super Bowl drought since Spygate penalties were levied.

“I’m trying not to go into details about it or disrespect that organization because I give that organization nothing but ... you still got to go out there and play the game,” he said. “All the credit. I give them all the credit in the world. But one fact still remains, they haven’t won a Super Bowl since they got caught.”

He then added, “You got caught. I know you’re gonna be looking at the film when we go out there. That’s just that. I don’t want to show them my card. That’s just me, not them. Not them. Every team is gonna look at it anyway. We’re gonna look at what they do too.”

Williams made his displeasure known last year, when he was booted from a joint practice after scuffling with a New England wideout. Eagles coach Chip Kelly and Belichick, coaching pals, made a prior agreement that any player caught tussling would be kicked out of practice.

The Ravens and Patriots met three times in the playoffs when Williams played for Baltimore, with the Ravens winning twice. They squared off in the AFC Championship Game twice, with New England winning 23-20 in 2011 and Baltimore prevailing 28-13 the following season.

Joint practices have become trendy around the league. The Patriots are also having combined sessions with the Redskins this summer. Last year and in 2012, the Pats practiced against the Buccaneers leading up to a preseason game.

The Eagles never had joint practices in Andy Reid’s 14 seasons. Before last year, the hadn’t practiced against another team in the preseason since working out with the Bills in 1998.

Williams said the game intensity is lost when teams practice against each other leading up.

“I like the mystery, you know what I mean?” he said. “I used to like the mystery, where you just come into camp, you do your camp, you go against those other guys and you get that itch to go hit some other guys. When you’re practicing against other guys, other teams early on, you don’t get that itch. That itch is gone.

“And then there’s certain things in practice [last year] that I didn’t agree with that went down, so I know it’s going to be the same thing this year. To me, I didn’t see how we benefited from that practice at all. And maybe it’s because I do not like the Patriots.”

Training camp is a week old, and this marks the third time Williams has sounded off about a certain topic. First, he said he likes to see fights in camp. Then, he explained why he should be considered one of the league's elite cornerbacks.

This is all somewhat surprising because in the spring, he said wouldn't be as outspoken as he was last year.

"I don't think I'm going to change much, but I think I'll be [wiser] with what I have to say," Williams said in April. "I'll be a little bit [smarter] before I react and talk a lot more."

Never change, Cary.

Sources: Eagles to sign former Villanova LB Don Cherry and former Alabama S Nick Perry

ap-don-cherry.png
The Associated Press

Sources: Eagles to sign former Villanova LB Don Cherry and former Alabama S Nick Perry

The Eagles have a serious depth problem at linebacker, and they're looking at a local prospect to try to fix it. 

The team will sign former Villanova linebacker Don Cherry on Sunday, pending a physical, a league source told CSNPhilly.com. ESPN's Adam Caplan first reported the deal.

Cherry, 21, first signed with the Bears after going undrafted in the spring, but was cut by Chicago in June. 

The 6-1, 240-pound Cherry was an All-CAA selection as a sophomore, junior and senior. During his time on the Main Line, he was credited with 331 tackles, 46 1/2 tackles for loss, 14 sacks, seven forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and an interception. 

Even with Cherry, the Eagles are still light in the depth department at linebacker. After starters Mychal Kendricks, Jordan Hicks and Nigel Bradham, the team has Najee Goode, Deontae Skinner, seventh-rounder Joe Walker and a couple of other undrafted free agents. 

After cutting wideout Jonathan Krause on Friday, the Eagles had three vacancies on their 90-man roster. They're filling another of those openings with former Alabama safety Nick Perry, according to a league source. The perry deal was first reported by Al.com's Matt Zenitz. The 6-1, 211-pound Perry spent last season on the Ravens' practice squad after going undrafted in 2015. 

Eagles training camp kicks off Monday, and the first full-team practice is Thursday. 

5 Eagles with the most at stake during training camp

5 Eagles with the most at stake during training camp

Training camp officially kicks off on July 25, when rookies, QBs and select vets report. Three days later the Eagles have their first full team practice. 

For the weeks after that, the team will be formed, and we’ll finally get a better understanding of the 2016 Eagles. Some players will definitely make the roster. Some already have their starting positions locked up. 

Then there are the players with the most to prove during the few-week camp. There are way more than five guys who need to impress during August. There are players who will make the team and who will lose the team, who will win starting gigs and lose them. 

But here are five on the roster that I’ll be watching closely: 

Josh Huff
Huff is a curious case. He’s super talented; he really is. He just hasn’t figured it out yet, and it’s fair to wonder if he ever will. He’s going into his third season and has just 35 catches in his first two years. There’s a chance he could win a starting job. Then again, there’s a chance he could lose his roster spot, though that’s probably much less likely. In Doug Pederson’s offense, receivers get moved around a lot, something Chip Kelly refused to do. I’d like to see Huff be given a chance to play in the slot. Obviously, Jordan Matthews has shined in that position, but if he lines up outside, Huff might be a good fit. 

Chris Pantale
During the spring, Pantale often lined up as a fullback with the first team, which meant the Eagles want to see if he can be a lead blocker. But training camp is where they’ll find out. Can he take a hit? Can he deliver one to a linebacker? The coaching staff will be looking to answer those questions. If Pantale can prove he’s a capable fullback, he can earn a spot on the roster and force the Eagles to either keep four tight ends or cut Trey Burton, who will also be given a shot to prove himself as a fullback. 

Isaac Seumalo
Through no fault of his own, the rookie offensive lineman is behind. The third-round pick was stuck at Oregon State because of the arcane NCAA graduation rule and missed all of OTAs. “I definitely think that will be tough for him,” Allen Barbre said when asked about Seumalo’s catching up this summer. For now, Barbre is the starting left guard, but Seumalo — along with Stefen Wisniewksi — will have a chance to challenge him for the position during camp. 

Eric Rowe
During OTAs and the mandatory minicamp, Leodis McKelvin and Ron Brooks were the Eagles’ two starting cornerbacks, and Rowe came on the field as an outside corner in the nickel package, while Brooks slid into the slot. That means Rowe isn’t really a starter after he came on strong as a rookie a year ago. He’ll have to have a good camp to retake his starting job.  

Kenjon Barner
Barner looked pretty good this spring. In fact, he even took some first-team reps at running back. But that doesn’t mean he has a job locked up. Last season, he was the fourth running back behind DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles. This year, with Murray gone, he’s in the mix with Mathews, Sproles and rookie Wendell Smallwood. Will the Eagles keep four backs again? If they do, Barner has a very good shot to be on the team. But if the Eagles keep three, they might elect to keep a promising fifth-rounder in Smallwood over him. 

NFL Notes: League to review domestic violence allegations against Ezekiel Elliott

NFL Notes: League to review domestic violence allegations against Ezekiel Elliott

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The NFL says it is reviewing domestic violence allegations against Dallas Cowboys rookie Ezekiel Elliott.

A police report says Elliott denied allegations that he assaulted his girlfriend early Friday in Columbus, Ohio, causing bruises and abrasions. The report says he wasn't arrested because of conflicting versions of what happened.

Three witnesses told police they didn't see Elliott assault the 20-year-old woman. Elliott says the woman got the bruises and abrasions in a bar fight.

The player's father, Stacy Elliott, said in a statement Friday that the claims are "completely false" and that his son has cooperated with the investigation.

Ezekiel Elliott is a running back who played at Ohio State. He turned 21 Friday.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy says the allegations will be reviewed under the league's personal conduct policy (see full story).

Colts: NFL suspends Art Jones for 4 games
INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis Colts defensive lineman Arthur Jones has been suspended for the first four games of the 2016 season for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances.

Jones has struggled to stay on the field since signing a five-year, $33 million contract in 2014. He missed seven games in his first season with Indy with an injured right ankle. He missed all of last season with an injured left ankle he sustained during the preseason.

Jones won't be eligible to return to the team until Oct. 3 but will be allowed to participate in training camp and preseason games.

His brother, Jon, a UFC fighter, also has run afoul of that league's anti-drug policies.

Vikings: Ribbon cut at new $1.1 billion stadium
MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph spent his first three seasons playing in the Metrodome, a cramped, dingy noise box that tested the patience of fans and players alike.

The home locker room only had five bathroom stalls for 53 players and dozens of coaches and support staff. So when he walked around U.S. Bank Stadium, the Vikings' new $1.1 billion stadium that is set to open this season, he said comparing the two was like "ground chuck and filet mignon."

The Vikings held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday to mark the official beginning of life in their new home. The celebration featured current coach Mike Zimmer blowing the gjallahorn -- a huge horn used in Viking lore -- with coaching legend Bud Grant by his side and fireworks after a host of speakers praised the new stadium.

With a cutting-edge design that includes a translucent roof to allow in the daylight, a wall of glass with 100-foot doors that open to let the autumn breeze in and a locker room that is twice the size of their former home in the Metrodome, U.S. Bank Stadium has thrust the franchise into the 21st century (see full story).

Bears: Charles Tillman retires with Chicago
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Charles Tillman is officially retiring as a member of the Chicago Bears.

The two-time Pro Bowl cornerback signed a one-day contract and called it a career with the team that drafted him in 2003 on Friday.

He had announced Monday on Twitter that he was retiring. The 35-year-old Tillman, known for his "peanut punch" after forcing 44 career fumbles, spent his first 12 seasons with the Bears and went to two Pro Bowls and a Super Bowl with them.

He started 12 games last season with the Carolina Panthers before suffering a season-ending knee injury and missed the team's run to the Super Bowl.

Chicago also terminated defensive back Omar Bolden's contract on Friday.