More details emerge about NFL draft experience on the Ben Franklin Parkway in Philly

More details emerge about NFL draft experience on the Ben Franklin Parkway in Philly

Football fans have been pretty excited about the NFL draft coming to Philadelphia but details surrounding the event have been relatively scarce.

The Mayor of Philadelphia's office released more details this afternoon about what exactly will be going on in front of the Art Museum and along the Ben Franklin Parkway.

They had said previously that they expect a record-setting 200,000 fans through the experience.

Here are some of the highlights.

The fan festival activities will be FREE and last for three days along a half-mile stretch of the Ben Franklin Parkway. This will include "interactive exhibits, immersive games, and virtual reality experiences, free player autograph sessions and more."

Hours for the fan experience:

Thursday, April 27: 12 pm - 11 pm

Friday, April 28: 12 pm - 11 pm

Saturday, April 29: 10 am - 6 pm

In addition to the special fan fest experience, a number of the museums in the area will be offering special discounts or even free admission.

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University will offer free general admission during those three days of the draft will discounts on special exhibits. The Barnes Foundation will be closed on Thursday for a special event but will maintain normal business hours (10 am - 5 pm) on Friday and Saturday. The Franklin Institute will be open to the public from 9:30am-5pm during NFL Draft days (April 27-29).

There will be a plethora of road closures starting in phases as early as April 10th. The full extent of the road closures will begin on the 25th at 12:01 am and include the following:

21st Street closed from Winter Street to Spring Garden Street
     *   Local access to Pennsylvania Avenue only (all traffic must turn left)

  *   22nd Street closed from Race Street to Spring Garden Street
     *   Local access to Park Towne Place only (residents)

  *   23rd Street closed from Fairmount Avenue to Benjamin Franklin Parkway
     *   Local access only

  *   24th Street closed from Benjamin Franklin Parkway to Park Towne Place
     *   Local access only

  *   Martin Luther King Drive closed at Sweet Briar Drive.
     *   Road opened daily during peak AM rush hour on 4/27 & 4/28 (5AM-10AM) for access to I-676 via 24th Street

  *   Kelly Drive closed from Benjamin Franklin Parkway to Fairmount Avenue

  *   Spring Garden Street Bridge closed at 31st Street
     *   Road opened daily during peak AM rush hour on 4/27 & 4/28 (5AM-10AM) for access to I-676 via 24th Street
     *   Access to I-76 westbound will be maintained
     *   Local access to Art Museum will be maintained

  *   Spring Garden Street closed from 22nd Street to Benjamin Franklin Parkway
     *   Local access after peak AM rush hour

  *   Pennsylvania Avenue closed from Hamilton Street to Fairmount Avenue
     *   Local access after peak AM rush hour

  *   Pennsylvania Avenue/Callowhill Street closed from 20th Street to 21st Street
     *   Local access to Barnes Foundation driveway (westbound) only
     *   Eastbound open from 21st Street

  *   Park Towne Place closed from 22nd Street to 24th Street
     *   Local access only (residents)

  *   I-676 westbound 22nd Street off-ramp closed

From our previous post on what the Fan Fest experience will entail:

Among the NFL Draft Experience fan events:

·       Combine Corner – From racing against NFL players to running routes, fans can test their football and athletic skills at Combine Corner, which includes the Vertical Jump and 40-Yard Dash.

·       NFL Virtual Reality – Experience NFL games using virtual reality technology.

·       The Vince Lombardi Trophy – Fans will have the opportunity to take their photo with the Super Bowl trophy.

·       AFC & NFC Locker Rooms – Visit a replica NFL locker room as it appears on gameday. Experience the sights of an NFL pregame with sleek translucent LCDs.

·       NFL Museum (Pro Football Hall of Fame display area) – This exhibit features historical Eagles memorabilia, Super Bowl rings and Conference Championship trophies. Fans can get a digitalized Pro Football Hall of Fame bronze bust in their likeness.

·       College Football Corner – Fans can view College Football Hall of Fame memorabilia from former first round Draft picks and Eagles legends, and cheer on Draft prospects from their favorite college team. Life size player mannequins offer unique photo opportunities.

·       NFL Draft Experience Tailgate – Enjoy selections from some of Philadelphia’s best restaurants in a “taste of the town” tailgate.

·       NFL Network Set – Watch NFL Network analysts break down the NFL Draft.

·       ESPN Set – Check out SportsCenter LIVE from NFL Draft Experience.

·       NFL Shop at Draft – Stop by for the largest assortment of NFL Draft merchandise, including customizable Nike Jerseys and the official 2017 NFL Draft Cap by New Era and other exclusive Draft caps.

·       NFL Draft Set – Visit the official NFL Draft set from Thursday to Saturday and see the view from behind the podium.

Eagles lineman to attend random fan's wedding

Eagles lineman to attend random fan's wedding

Well, if you are a die-hard Eagles fan who attended Miami University in Ohio, you’re in luck because Brandon Brooks would love to join you and your soon-to-be spouse on your wedding day.

All you need to do is send a letter.

This morning, Brooks tweeted out a letter he received from fellow Miami University graduates, Geoffrey Lane and his bride-to-be Marni Goldberg, inviting him to their wedding tomorrow afternoon.

Geoffrey took a shot in the dark trying to bring a celebrity to his wedding. Low risk, high reward situation.

It paid off as Brooks accepted the blind-date style invitation.

You have to wonder what Brooks might get the newlyweds as a gift. Perhaps a midnight-green toaster.

This isn’t the first time an Eagles player made someone’s day special. This past season rookie QB Carson Wentz was tasked to complete a fan’s quiz after losing two straight games and leading into a week-14 game against the Bengals. That game would be an embarrassing 32-14 loss

Luckily for Wentz, the five-question test from this young fan did not ask about his receiving corps or his struggles adjusting to the NFL.

Wentz responded via twitter and passed with flying colors.

The Eagles and the Joe Mixon dilemma

The Eagles and the Joe Mixon dilemma

Last year, the Eagles took chances on a number of college athletes with checkered pasts. Wendell Smallwood, Jalen Mills and Alex McCalister were all followed by off-field issues, largely legal in nature. Now, with the 2017 NFL draft quickly approaching and Oklahoma prospect Joe Mixon becoming a hot topic, the question becomes where does the franchise draw the line?

Mixon rose to a level of infamy few college athletes ever achieve -- or many pros, for that matter -- when video of his 2014 misdemeanor assault went public in December. Security footage shows the running back punching a woman in the head, a strike that resulted in a broken jaw, eye socket and cheekbone. If it sounds at all like the video that derailed the career Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice, that's because it is.

The timelines of the incidents are eerily similar as well, as both occurred months apart in 2014. Rice was eventually released by the Ravens once his video emerged, and he never played football again, nor even granted a tryout. Mixon's draft stock is damaged, perhaps irreparably, yet odds are high he will be in an NFL camp come May, and the expectation is his name will be called at some point during the draft.

After all, there's no denying Mixon is talented. He carried 300 times for 2,027 yards for a 6.8 average and 17 touchdowns in two seasons with the Sooners, plus tacked on another 65 receptions for 894 yards and 9 scores. At Oklahoma’s pro day -- Mixon was not allowed to attend the NFL Scouting Combine -- he measured 6-foot-1, 228 pounds, and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.47 seconds.

Were it not for the assault charge, Mixon might be a first-round pick. It's impossible to predict where he’ll go now, but rankings suggest he might not slip past the third. Even there, Mixon would be an incredible value to a team, provided he can stay out of trouble.

That is, if said team can weather the fallout. Plenty of football fans are mortified a person could commit such a terrible act and would be unable to support Mixon or whatever club drafts him. Protests are not entirely out of the question, either.

The Eagles have demonstrated a willingness to confront such a backlash head on, and in just the past year.

Smallwood and McCalister were not involved in violent crimes, but Mills -- in a case not nearly as high profile as Mixon's -- was charged with misdemeanor battery for allegedly striking a woman in '14 as well. Mills was allowed to enter a pretrial diversion program, although the biggest difference is the lack of video evidence, so the public outcry was somewhere between minimal and nonexistent.

Which doesn't mean the Eagles are only willing to take on a player with character concerns when it won't result in overwhelming negative publicity. This is the same organization that took a chance on Michael Vick in 2009, fresh out prison for his role in operating an interstate dog-fighting ring.

Signing Vick sparked protests and turned off fans, some permanently. Seven years later, it seems the Eagles were vindicated in their decision. Vick never got into a whiff of trouble from that point on, and has probably done more to aid animal causes and other charitable efforts since serving his time than the majority of his detractors will in a lifetime.

Yet, human beings had a right to view Vick critically so soon after his incarceration, just as they do Mixon now. The Eagles or some other NFL team must figure out whether a kid who turns 21 in July deserves that kind of benefit of the doubt, or whether he'll turn around and make a fool of the franchise.

For what it's worth, Mixon didn't do himself any favors last year by getting into an altercation with a parking attendant. For anybody else, the ensuing one-game suspension might be considered minor. Mixon, on the other hand, couldn't really afford another black mark on his reputation. It was a sign of immaturity and that he doesn't understand his actions are under the microscope.

While the Eagles have shown a tendency toward leniency in the past, even as recently as the 2016 draft, they may not be in the same position this year. The arrests of Nigel Bradham and Josh Huff were big stories for the club last season, eventually prompting Huff's release.

Smallwood, Mills and McCalister may have stayed out of trouble, but it seems the front office might be out of second chances to give for the moment.

Regardless, somebody is going to give Mixon the opportunity to play in the NFL, no matter where you stand on the subject of second chances and the particular crime he committed. In the past, the Eagles have not been opposed to bringing in a player they feel has been rehabilitated, which is the right thing to do.

But it's a case-by-case situation. Mixon is a gifted athlete and a potential Pro Bowl talent, and at a position of need for the Eagles no less. Then again, has he truly learned from his actions? Because it’s not just an athlete's skill the Eagles are taking a chance on -- it's a person, and if he still hasn’t grown up, as recent events suggest, it may be best to let someone else find out.