Eagles look to move past White House drama

But some vocal players got their points across first

Ed Benkin
June 06, 2018 - 9:44 pm
Eagles practice at an OTA practice.

Ed Benkin | KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Unlike Kim Jong-un, the Eagles have no desire to get into a war of words with President Donald Trump.

The Eagles were back at the NovaCare Complex on Wednesday, but it was hardly a typical day of spring work.  

The Eagles were uninvited to the White House by the president the night before the team was supposed to be in Washington, D.C.

When it came time to return to South Philadelphia, Doug Pederson and his players largely chose to move forward. The head coach insisted his players have moved on and everyone with the organization wants to focus on football as the off-season workouts draw closer to an end.

"I’m not discussing it," Pederson added. "It's over. What you've seen and what you've heard is enough. I'm not going to stand here and discuss it, because we've got two OTA practices. I've got a mandatory camp next week, and I'm focused on that."

Malcolm Jenkins has been one of the most outspoken Eagles regarding his thoughts on Trump. He let his actions speak louder than words during the press conference, in which he held up a series of signs, some of which read "You aren't listening" or a list of players who have made key contributions to the community.

Chris Long has been outspoken about the president and is also ready to move on, but not before commenting on Trump's claim that the dispute over the national anthem was the cause of the cancellation.

"Not going to the White House had nothing to do with the anthem," Long said. "I said I wasn't going to the White House a long time ago. I'm the wrong guy to ask on that one. At the end of the day, it made no difference to me. I don't feel like the work these guys are doing in the community should be hijacked."

The unity displayed by the Eagles throughout their Super Bowl run seems to have been reinforced over the White House issue. Even before Trump cancelled the event, many players had elected not to go. The players would not comment on the exact amount who were scheduled to attend the ceremony, with the White House claiming the amount would have been quite small.  

Tight End Zach Ertz said the personal choice of every player in the locker room was respected by their teammates.

"Everyone in this locker room understands that everyone's heart is in the right place," said Ertz. "We weren't going to let someone try and formulate an agenda. Everyone has been treated with love and respect."

Jason Kelce echoed the feeling of team unity throughout the Eagles locker room. However, the popular lineman expressed more regret about the state of the country instead of the cancelled trip. 

"It's a little bit disappointing right now as a country that we're so divided," Kelce said. "That's the bigger disappointment. It feels like people are sticking to their own little bubbles and they don't open their minds to different viewpoints. The objective was not to win the Super Bowl so I could go to the White House."

The throng of national reporters will likely disappear by the time the Eagles take the field Thursday for another OTA. 

For Pederson, there was still some disappointment over not being honored at the White House, but the coach is ready to focus on to the business of defending a Super Bowl title.

"I was looking forward to going down and being recognized as world champions," said Pederson. "It is what it is. We're here today. Got an OTA practice. I’m focused on these next couple of days, getting through next week and on to training camp, so that's where we're at."