Eagles Enact Initiative to End Philadelphia Gun Violence

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By Jennifer McGraw, Sports Talk Philly Contributor

Though the Philadelphia Eagles are ecstatic about another year in the playoffs, the team is taking time to create an initiative for an ongoing issue in the Philadelphia community.

After a record-high homicides in 2021, the organization came together to enact a gun violence campaign on Tuesday, January 4, called, "End Philly Gun Violence." During press conferences on Tuesday, members of the team sported jackets and tee shirts with the message, "Enough Keeping Score, End Philly Gun Violence." 

One member of the team, Eagles safety Rodney McLeod, was particularly moved by this problem in the city. After signing with the team and moving to the city in 2016 as a free agent, McLeod immersed himself in the community. He and his wife, Erika, soon developed the "Change Our Future" foundation which aims to bring positive change to the youth in Philadelphia. Part of this change includes taking action against the gun violence Philadelphia youth face.

Their inaugural "Sneaker Ball" event was held in early December to raise money to give educational and empowerment resources to the youth.

Philadelphia's history with gun violence is nothing new, but in 2021, the city faced 562 homicides. These shooting occurred mostly in North and West Philadelphia, where there are a lot of low-income communities with little to no access to the necessities they need. According to the Philadelphia Center for Gun Violence Reporting, a disturbing majority of the gun violence victims (fatal and nonfatal) are 24 years of age or younger.

End Philly Gun Violence includes more than $316,000 in grant funding donated by the Eagles Social Justice Fund towards 32 different social justice non-profits. Besides McLeod, several Eagles serve on the council in this campaign, such as tight end Dallas Goedert and defensive end Brandon Graham. In addition to the campaign, the Eagles also shared a corresponding website for resources and more information about the initiative. The resources include different organizations that provide services for the Philadelphia community. The website will also have social media posts and public service announcements about the initiative as it continues to grow. This website was created in conjunction with the city of Philadelphia.

The website reads, "The City of Philadelphia is supporting people in every neighborhood to build a foundation forward for a way to give communities hope and a path out of violence. Reach for hope, instead of a gun. You are not alone. There is help. There are ways to drive positive change without feeling the need to "keep score."

“Unfortunately, some of these kids are seeing this happen to a neighbor or a block or two down from them here in Philadelphia and it’s sad and it’s disturbing,” said Rodney, in an interview in November regarding the gun violence issue.

The work towards ending gun violence in the city will not be easy, but the Philadelphia Eagles are proud to take on initiative as it is something many of its players are passionate about.


Eagles-Jets Preview

By Jennifer McGraw, Sports Talk Philly Contributor

The Philadelphia Eagles (5-7) head back to MetLife Stadium this time to face the New York Jets (3-8). Philadelphia is coming off of an upsetting loss to the New York Giants (4-7) with a final score of 13-7. New York is coming off of a win over the Houston Texans (2-9), 21-14. 

Date: December 5, 2021

Where: MetLife Stadium at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey

When: 1:00 PM/Eastern

TV: CBS

Radio: 94.1 WIP and the Philadelphia Eagles Radio Network

Series History

The Philadelphia Eagles lead the all-time series 11-0.

Last Matchup

2019: The Eagles beat the Jets 31-6 at Lincoln Financial Field in October. There were two defensive touchdowns, a touchdown from former Eagles tight end Zach Ertz, and a touchdown by Eagles running back Jordan Howard. The Jets were only able to put up six points thanks to their wide receiver, Vyncint Smith, with a 19-yard run.

This Game at a Glance

Gannon and Sirianni are back in the hot seat, but not all eyes are on them right now. Quarterback Jalen Hurts is a game time decision after suffering an ankle injury last week. As of Wednesday, Hurts noted in a press conference on Wednesday that he would be "ready to go" and it would be "business as usual" for him in preparation for the Jets. That is not the case, as NFL reporter Derrick Gunn said Hurts would be out and backup, Gardner Minshew, would be in. Last week, Hurts went 14-for-31 for 129 yards, no touchdowns, and three interceptions. Boston Scott had 15 carries for 64 yards and one touchdown.

This week, both teams are going to play to their offensive strengths, which means it'll be another battle on defense. Against the Texans, Jets quarterback Zach Wilson went 14-for-24 for 145 yards, no touchdowns, and one interception. He did get one rushing touchdown, as did running back Austin Walter, who had nine carries for 38 yards. Both teams are going to make magic happen in the red zone, so it'll be interesting to watch what defense can step up and hold the offense.

 

Continue reading "Eagles-Jets Preview" »


Eagles Rodney and Erika McLeod Discuss Career, "Change Our Future"

By Jennifer McGraw, Sports Talk Philly Contributor

From undrafted free agent to Super Bowl LII champion, Rodney McLeod, along with his wife Erika McLeod, co-founder of the Change Our Future Foundation, work hard to give back to the youth in the Tri-State area.

Though Rodney is an exceptionally talented player on the field, with 426 career tackles and 154 assists, his charitable work with his wife is just as amazing.

Rodney McLeod landed in the NFL in 2012 when he signed with the St. Louis Rams. He discussed how the opportunity was both humbling and hard because of the uncertainty of how long an undrafted football player might be on a team.

Regardless of the circumstances, Rodney and Erika’s love of giving back to the community started in St. Louis.

“It started in the community there, getting involved, that’s something that was always apart of Erika and I,” said Rodney, on discussing Erika and his inspiration for giving back. “Because of who we are and how we both were raised, we just wanted to get out and make a difference.”

Four years later, he signed with the Philadelphia Eagles, and the rest is history. In his second year with the team, the Eagles won Super Bowl LII.

Rodney discussed his excitement for coming to Philadelphia. He was able to be closer with his family in Maryland, as well as closer to Erika while she was working. He also noted that his hard work and drive propelled him into success in just a short period of time in the city of brotherly love. 

 

Continue reading "Eagles Rodney and Erika McLeod Discuss Career, "Change Our Future"" »


Eagles-Giants Preview

By Jennifer McGraw, Sports Talk Philly Contributor

The Philadelphia Eagles (5-6) are right up the road this week for an NFC East matchup against the New York Giants (3-7). Philadelphia is coming off of one of their biggest wins of the season against the New Orleans Saints (5-6) with a score of 40-29. The Giants had a tough loss on the road against the defending Super Bowl Champions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-3).

Date: November 28, 2021

Where: MetLife Stadium at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey

When: 1:00 PM/Eastern

TV: FOX

Radio: 94.1 WIP and the Philadelphia Eagles Radio Network

Series History

The Philadelphia Eagles lead the all-time series 89-87-2.

Last Matchup

2020: The Eagles lost to the Giants 27-17 at MetLife Stadium. Carson Wentz was still QB1 and 21-of-37 for 208 yards and zero touchdowns. Miles Sanders had 15 carries for 85 yards, and Boston Scott had three carries for 63 yards and one touchdown.

This Game at a Glance

It’s safe to say there are no tests for Gannon, Sirianni, or Hurts, but that doesn’t mean they should let up. The Eagles are in crunch time to get that last playoff spot. Every game matters.

After two of the biggest wins of the Eagles season in back-to-back weeks, the team is heading into a pretty stable last few weeks. The Eagles don’t have to fly anywhere the rest of the season and the team has stayed relatively healthy (minus Jordan Howard who is the only confirmed player out for Sunday due to knee injury.) Cornerback Tay Gowan is questionable. Darius Slay, who had an incredible 51-yard interception for a touchdown, cleared the concussion protocol and will play Sunday. The Giants, on the other hand, will be missing a few key players. Fullback Cullen Gillaspia is out with a calf injury, wide receiver Sterling Shepard is out with a quad injury - this is a huge loss on the Giants, and tight end Kaden Smith will be out with a knee injury.

Related Reading:
Injury Report: Eagles at Giants

Eagles Win if…

They play four quarters of football. The Eagles did play beautifully last week, putting up points in all four quarters, but they need to do better than to allow Saints to score 22 unanswered points in the fourth quarter. The Eagles won’t face much of a challenge this weekend, but they’re still going to need to play to their strengths and did what they did last week to pull out a win. With the Eagles being the number two running offense in the NFL at 153.4 yards per game, keeping the ball protected and on the ground is playing to the Eagles strength.

Giants Win if…

There’s a lot that the Giants need to do, but it’s not impossible. The Giants might not want to score early, and that’s okay because they’ve done really well in the fourth quarter of the three games the team has won. Tiring out the Eagles might be key, then put the final nail in the coffin in the fourth. Likewise with the Eagles, the Giants are also going to want to run the ball. Why? They want to keep the Eagles offense off the field and run up the play clock.

 

Prediction: Eagles 34-21

I have no doubt that the Eagles will start hot. Do we see a score on their opening possession? Maybe. I think two Hurts-to-Smith touchdowns will happen. Hurts is likely to run it in the end zone for the touchdown, as he did quite a few times last week. This might be a bold take, and I’m riding off of a high from last week, but I think we’ll see another pick six.