PHILADELPHIA — The Eagles players were dressed for the occasion Thursday night for their flight to London.
They arrived at the NovaCare Complex to find specially made silver jackets featuring kelly green, old-school Eagles logos on the back and Union Jacks on the sleeves.
The coolest part of the coats, which were designed and provided by Starter, were the silver linings, which had kelly green replicas of Big Ben with gold clocks.
Actor Bradley Cooper, a noted Eagles fan and star of “Silver Linings Playbook,” would have been proud.
“These jackets are beautiful,” Eagles running back and Glassboro native Corey Clement said. “I love that they brought back the old-school colors, the kelly green. I might not want to bring mine with me because I’m afraid of losing it. I might just keep mine here.”
After Thursday’s practice, the Eagles were busy stuffing clothes and other items into carry-on suitcases for a six-hour flight to London, where they will take on Jacksonville at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.
The Eagles were scheduled to depart Philadelphia International Airport at 7 p.m., arriving at London’s Heathrow Airport at 1 a.m. EDT, which is 7 a.m. in England. Sunday’s game is 9:30 a.m. (3:30 p.m. in England).
“I don’t like flying red-eyes (overnight flights),” Eagles tight end Zach Ertz said. “I have a tough time sleeping. But it’s something we’ve got to do.”
The Eagles are playing a regular-season game in London for the first time. They played preseason games there in 1989 and 1992.
Meanwhile, Wembley Stadium has been sort of a second home to the Jaguars. They have played one game a season there since 2013, and have won three straight. Jaguars owner Shad Khan, who also owns the Fulham Football Club (soccer team), thought about buying Wembley Stadium for $800 million but withdrew the offer last week.
“London as the Jaguars’ home away from home remains a priority,” Khan told the Florida Times-Union last week. “The relationship between London and the Jaguars is as important as ever, and we will continue to develop it to the benefit of all.”
Although the Eagles are making their first appearance at Wembley Stadium, at least six players have been there with other teams.
Linebacker Nigel Bradham and cornerback Ronald Darby were with Buffalo when they lost 34-31 to Jacksonville in 2015. Defensive end Chris Long and the St. Louis Rams lost 45-7 to New England in 2012. Cornerback Dexter McDougle was a New York Jet when they beat running back Jay Ajayi and Miami 27-14 in 2015. Quarterback Nate Sudfeld was a Washington rookie when they tied Cincinnati 27-27 in 2016.
Ajayi was born in North London before his parents moved to the United States when he was 8 or 9. He was raised in Frisco, Texas. Ajayi is on the Eagles’ injured reserve list after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament against Minnesota on Oct. 7.
“I haven’t seen him since he had his surgery,” Clement said. “Hopefully, he’ll be out there with us, and I’ll be able to get some tips about places to visit from him.”
The Eagles are treating the visit like a business trip, and will have little time for sight-seeing, though a few players are staying in London after the game during the Eagles’ open week.
Bradham and defensive end Brandon Graham are going to play tourists for a few days.
“I don’t have a lot of stamps on my passport, so I’m looking forward to it,” Graham said. “I’m letting my wife (Carlyne) plan everything, and I’ll just follow her around.”
Notes: Two local players, Atlanta defensive end Jack Crawford (St. Augustine Prep, Egg Harbor Township) and Cincinnati long snapper Clark Harris (Southern Regional, Stafford Township) have played in London in previous years. Crawford was with Dallas when they played Jacksonville in 2014. Harris and the Bengals were there in 2016.
Crawford, a 2008 St. Augustine Prep grad, grew up in the Kilburn section of London, where he played basketball and soccer while rooting for Arsenal in the English Premier League.