PHILADELPHIA — New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton was more interested in reminiscing about his boyhood in Delaware County on Wednesday than breaking down Sunday’s divisional-round playoff game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Payton grew up about 25 miles from Philadelphia in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, and attended elementary school and junior high school there before the family moved to Naperville, Illinois.
“I lived four blocks from Marple Newtown High School,” Payton said during a conference call Thursday. “I played quarterback for the Marple Newtown Junior Bengals.”
He lived in the area long enough to experience some Philadelphia sports highlights.
He recalled getting the day off from school when the Flyers won their second of back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1975, and the Phillies winning the World Series in 1980.
“I remember the ‘LCB’ line (Reggie Leach, Bobby Clarke, Bill Barber) that beat the Russians (in 1976),” Payton said. “I remember the Phillies winning a championship (in 1980). I ate my share of cheesesteaks.”
He also quizzed the Philadelphia media on some Flyers trivia.
“Anyone remember the center on the Flyers second line?” he said. “Left-handed shot? Rick MacLeish. Come on, guys.”
Foles focused on present
Eagles quarterback Nick Foles refused to discuss his future with the Eagles.
Foles is due a $20 million option for next season or he can buy his way out of it for $2 million and become a free agent.
The Eagles are expected to let him walk and go with quarterback Carson Wentz, but Foles’ playoff success — he’s 4-1 in the postseason and won the Super Bowl last year — has some fans thinking they should keep him around.
“I understand where I stand,” Foles said Wednesday. “And I’m not thinking about the future. All that stuff will take care of itself. I’m focused on the present and helping this team win on Sunday.”
Malcolm in the middle
Toward the end of the Saints’ 48-7 win over the Eagles on Nov. 18, Payton appeared to run up the score when Saints running back Alvin Kamara got past safety Malcolm Jenkins for a 37-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter that made the score 45-7.
Jenkins, who spent his first five NFL seasons (2009-13) with the Saints, flashed an obscene gesture at Payton after the play.
“That didn’t bother me,” Payton said. “I talked to Malcolm after the game and told him I love him. He’s one of my guys, and I mean that. Letting him out of the building (to sign with the Eagles) wasn’t a smart decision. Letting him leave was one of the biggest mistakes we’ve made.”
When told of Payton’s remarks, Jenkins responded, “That’s what they all say.”
The Eagles participated in a walk-through practice Wednesday. Defensive end Michael Bennett (foot) and quarterback Carson Wentz (back) did not participate.
Linebacker D.J. Alexander (hamstring), wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (ribs), cornerback Sidney Jones (hamstring), tackle Jason Peters (quadricep), wide receiver Golden Tate (knee) and wide receiver Mike Wallace (ankle) were limited.