PHILADELPHIA — The Eagles went about their business Thursday trying to prepare for Sunday’s pivotal game against Seattle, all while dealing with yet another distraction.
The latest controversy involves wide receiver Nelson Agholor. Agholor vehemently denied accusations he had formed a burner account on Twitter under the handle @efam33.
“It’s crazy,” Agholor said Thursday. “I have a friend in Tampa (his hometown) that contacted me today during my break and told me about it. It’s not me. I hope you guys get on Twitter and tell everyone, ‘It’s not Nelson.’”
Agholor did not practice for the second straight day due to a knee injury.
He’s ranked second on the Eagles this season with 34 receptions for 322 yards with three touchdowns, but has taken some flak for several dropped passes in key situations, including one in the end zone of last week’s 17-10 loss to New England.
When someone posed the question to @emfa33, the person responded, “Maybe it’s because (Carson) Wentz doesn’t throw a better ball than (Nick) Foles, making it harder for us to catch.”
Other players were recalling their emotional meeting at Lincoln Financial Field on Wednesday with the Pleasantville and Camden High School football teams prior to the resumption of their Central Jersey Group II playoff game.
The game was halted in the third quarter Friday after gunshots were fired from the stands. Three people were injured, including 10-year-old Micah Tennant, who died earlier Wednesday.
Eagles president Don Smolenski offered the use of the stadium for the teams to finish the game. The franchise gave the teams the first-class treatment, providing personalized nameplates over the lockers, placing the names of the schools on the goal post pads and showing the action on the giant video scoreboards.
Pleasantville running back Ernest Howard wore No. 10 in memory of Micah. Camden’s team stopped at Cooper University Hospital in Camden for a moment of silence on their way to the Linc.
Eagles coach Doug Pederson and the members of the Eagles’ veterans committee, including linebacker Nigel Bradham, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, tight end Zach Ertz, defensive tackle Brandon Graham, wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, safety Malcolm Jenkins, center Jason Kelce, tackle Jason Peters and Wentz met with the players and coaches on the field before the game.
“I’m glad that we were able to help, since those kids have been through so much,” Cox said Thursday. “I just wish we had been able to stay for the game.”
Several players recounted incidents of violence that occurred during their high school careers.
Graham indicated at the Linc on Wednesday that similar incidents had occurred while growing up in Detroit. Kelce, who grew up in Cleveland, had heard talk of a stabbing and a shooting during his days at Cleveland Heights High School.
“We play most of our games on Friday night, but we always play our big rival, Shaker Heights, on Saturday afternoons because someone was stabbed at the game a few years before I got there,” Kelce said Thursday. “The Wendy’s across the street from the school is closed on Fridays because someone was shot there after a game. That was tough for me, because I used to love me some junior bacon cheeseburgers after games.”
Bradham was visibly upset Thursday upon hearing Micah had passed away.
He said he had heard all kinds of rumors while the team was headed over to the Linc but wasn’t sure about what allegedly occurred last Friday.
“It’s so sad,” Bradham said. “I hope that we were able to help those kids feel at least a little better by being there for them (Wednesday).”