Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Nigel Bradham’s absence last week will not keep him off the field for Sunday’s season opener against Washington.
Coach Doug Pederson said Friday during a streamed news conference that Bradham’s decision to skip the Eagles’ preseason finale at the New York Jets does not warrant being benched.
“I trust Nigel,” Pederson said. “He and I had a great conversation Monday and quite frankly, it’s behind us. He’s focused on the Redskins, just like I am.”
Pederson did not say whether Bradham would be fined.
Bradham confirmed an Inquirer.com report that he did not show up for the team’s bus Aug. 28 trip to East Rutherford, where the Eagles played the Jets the next evening at MetLife Stadium.
He was not scheduled to play in the game — he’s missed the entire preseason while rehabbing from toe surgery — but didn’t bother to tell Pederson or any other coach or team official he was skipping the game.
Bradham said he got sick Wednesday with a stomach bug and didn’t think it would be a good idea to travel in that condition.
“I should have communicated better, obviously,” he said. “But I wasn’t feeling well, so obviously I wasn’t really concerned with the phone and trying to reach out. That’s all it was.”
Bradham was suspended for the first game last season by the NFL for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.
That stemmed from an incident that occurred in July 2016, when he was arrested after allegedly beating up a cabana boy during an argument over an umbrella in Miami. He accepted a deferred prosecution program in 2017 that enabled him to avoid jail time.
Later in 2016, during the Eagles’ open week, he was arrested at Miami International Airport for carrying a loaded gun in his backpack while trying to pass through security. Those charges were dropped in October 2017.
Bradham is among a few Eagles who are expected to play Sunday after sitting out the entire preseason: defensive end Derek Barnett, guard Brandon Brooks, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, cornerback Ronald Darby, and, of course, quarterback Carson Wentz.
Brooks is in the midst of a remarkable comeback. He suffered a torn Achilles tendon in the Eagles’ playoff loss at New Orleans in January. Cox practiced for the first time Wednesday after undergoing offseason ankle surgery.
“I feel great,” Cox said Wednesday. “I’m excited to get back out there.”
The game also marks the return of wide receiver DeSean Jackson.
Jackson rejoined the Eagles in an offseason trade with Tampa Bay. He spent his first six seasons in Philadelphia before getting released by then-coach Chip Kelly just prior to the 2014 season.
“It’s going to feel great,” Jackson said Wednesday. “You can think about it, you can visualize it. I can’t wait until Sunday.”
Pederson denied a report the Eagles explored a trade for Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon by offering new running Jordan Howard in a potential deal.
“We feel great about Jordan,” Pederson said. “We actually went to Jordan when the report came out, right to him, and said, ‘Listen, you’re here. The report is false. It’s not coming from us.’ We just wanted to reassure him.”