Today in Philly Sports History: Welcome to Philadelphia, Kevin Curtis, 2007

Today in Philly Sports History: Welcome to Philadelphia, Kevin Curtis, 2007

Stuck behind Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce on the depth chart in his four years with the St. Louis Rams, Kevin Curtis never really flashed much star potential before he signed with the Eagles has a free agent in the 2007 off-season. In fact, he had only gone over 100 yards once in his career, getting 105 in a game against the Jaguars in '05. But coming to a Philadelphia Eagles team devoid of any real #1 (or even #2) wideout since the departure of Terrell Owens, Curtis was afforded opportunities he never saw in St. Louis. With a little help from Donovan McNabb on September 23rd, 2007, he certainly took advantage of them.

Playing in their 75th Anniversary powder blue and yellow uniforms (recently listed by SportsCenter as one of the most unfortunate sports costume choices of recent years, though I still kinda like them), the Eagles made short work of a hapless Detroit secondary. In just the first half of the game, Curtis caught nine passes for a stunning 205 yards, with three scores to boot. That total tied Buffalo's Lee Evans for the most in a game's first half since Steve Largent went for 224 courtesy of QB Jeff Kemp for Seattle in 1987. Curtis was quiet for the rest of the game, but the rest of the offense continued to pile on, for a final score of Eagles 56, Lions 21. (On the other side, a none-too-shabby 446-yard passing day for Jon Kitna and 204-yard receiving day for Roy Williams were thoroughly wasted).

Of course, injuries to McNabb and a tough divisional run (The Cowboys, Giants and Skins were all post-season bound that year) led to the Eagles going a sub-par 8-8 and missing the playoffs for just the second time this decade. With all kinds of shiny new toys at their disposal, McNabb and Reid have relied less on Curtis recently, but for now at least, he remains the answer to the trivia question of who the only post-T.O. Eagles receiver to log 1000 receiving yards in a season is, and one of the less humiliating wideouts the Eagles have tied themselves to in recent years.

Sixers take lasting lessons from talk with Will Smith at team dinner

Sixers take lasting lessons from talk with Will Smith at team dinner

GALLOWAY, N.J. — The sprawling city skyline could have been the highlight of the Sixers' team dinner at One Liberty Place on Monday night. Instead, it was a surprise celebrity appearance that left them in awe.

Will Smith, who is part of the Sixers’ ownership, caught the players off guard when he visited with the team to offer advice and answer questions.

“Man, that’s one of my idols,” Nerlens Noel said following the first training camp session at Stockton University. “Everything he said I really took in and all the guys did too.”

Rather than entertaining the group with his acting or musical skills, Smith imparted important lessons that are applicable in sports. The 48-year-old has had decades of success across multiple platforms, and he offered pieces of wisdom that can resonate in any situation. 

“If you have bad people around you, that’s how people see you and that’s how you are,” Joel Embiid said. “He said to have good people around. That’s the main thing I got from that.”

The Sixers had differing memorable moments the morning after Smith’s visit, which demonstrated how many topics he addressed with the team. 

“He’s a good guy,” Ben Simmons said. “I definitely learned a lot from hearing him talk … You’ve got to look at things from a positive and negative with every situation.”

Jahlil Okafor was especially caught up in Smith’s appearance. Smith is Okafor’s favorite actor, most notably for his role in I Am Legend, and impressed Okafor with his character. 

“We already know about his accolades and how smart he is and obviously he’s an entertaining person,” Okafor said. “But it just seemed like he really wanted to be there to help us out. I just took away that he was a great person.”

Okafor also added, “It just helps [to hear from him] because the road to success is pretty much the same. It’s about being focused, it’s about knowing that you’re going to be knocked down, you’re going to fail. That was one of the messages that Will Smith shared, was expect failure but the main thing is to get back up.”

Noel previously had seen Smith courtside at Sixers games, and this was his first opportunity to hear directly from him. Noel listened to everything Smith had to say, from how to deal with the media to ranking his best and worst movies. 

“Never get caught up in too much of the negativity,” Noel recounted. 

While people view professional athletes as celebrities, the Sixers were on the opposite side Monday evening. 

“It’s hard to get starstruck nowadays,” Noel said. “But when you see Will Smith, it’s a whole different ballgame.”

Tonight's lineup: With only RHPs left, could Ryan Howard start every game?

Tonight's lineup: With only RHPs left, could Ryan Howard start every game?

If healthy, Ryan Howard is expected to start all three games in the Phillies' final series of the season Sept. 2-4 at home against the Mets.

He might also start the entire Braves series.

The Phillies' final six games are all against right-handed starting pitchers: Julio Teheran, Mike Foltynewicz and Josh Collmenter in Atlanta; Robert Gsellman, Bartolo Colon and Noah Syndergaard with the Mets. That could mean six starts for Howard before his time with the Phillies expires.

Howard's batting average has been below .200 for practically the entire season, but he's been much better since the All-Star break, hitting .259/.325/.598 with 11 homers, five doubles and 25 RBIs in 123 plate appearances (see game notes). He went 0 for 6 in his last two starts but homered in each of his two previous starts to reach 23 for the third year in a row.

Here's the Phillies' full lineup Tuesday against Teheran:

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Roman Quinn, LF
3. Odubel Herrera, CF
4. Maikel Franco, 3B
5. Ryan Howard, 1B
6. Cameron Rupp, C
7. Freddy Galvis, SS
8. Aaron Altherr, RF
9. Jerad Eickhoff, P

Matt Kemp is out of the Braves' lineup.

1. Ender Inciarte, CF
2. Adonis Garcia, 3B
3. Freddie Freeman, 1B
4. Nick Markakis, RF
5. Tyler Flowers, C
6. Jace Peterson, 2B
7. Dansby Swanson, SS
8. Mallex Smith, LF
9. Julio Teheran, P

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