Release of Huff an ‘eye-opener’ for teammates
The Eagles made the ultimate ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ statement by releasing embattled kickoff returner Josh Huff Thursday.
Barely 24 hours after Doug Pederson said Huff would be in the lineup this weekend, the 25-yearold Huff was kicked to the curb in the wake of a slew of wreckage that began when he was arrested Tuesday on the Walt Whitman Bridge with a Smith & Wesson 9mm handgun, hollow point bullets and a small amount of marijuana.
It’s safe to say the players got this memo.
“It’s just an eye-opener for a lot of guys that have probably been almost doing, if not doing the same thing Josh was doing,” Eagles veteran Brandon Graham said. “Sometimes some people get caught and sometimes some people learn from other people. So hopefully people learn from this
situation and how serious it can be. We’re all just one decision away from losing our jobs. That’s just the message. We all need to learn from this and make sure that it doesn’t continue to keep happening.”
Graham and several Eagles players expressed shock over Huff’s release. They figured he’d be disciplined.
When Pederson indicated the Eagles would let the legal process play out it sure looked like Huff would be afforded the same courtesies as linebacker Nigel Bradham, who was charged with assault and a misdemeanor weapons charge.
Howie Roseman, the Eagles’ executive vice president of football operations, said the facts in the two cases
Veterans knew something was coming. Graham clarified what he said about the move being an eye-opener for Eagles players.
“I’m just saying this is a bunch of grown men here,” Graham said. “We’ve got stuff that we need to change. I’m not saying that anybody else does it. I’m just saying don’t have a gun in your car. Don’t have drugs in your car. I’m saying like for me, if I was ever to do those things I’ve got to look back on Josh’s decision and be like, ‘Man, I’m just one decision away, one speeding past the police and I’ve got this and I’m in trouble. I’m just saying I hope everybody learns from this situation.”
Huff put the Eagles in a bad light. Worse than Bradham and wide receiver Nelson Agholor, who was accused of assaulting an exotic dancer. No charges were
filed against Agholor.
Roseman was vague when asked whether Huff had the handgun on Eagles property, which would have been a violation of the NFL’s personal conduct policy. Roseman said only that Huff told the Eagles he had not brought the gun on the premises. There was no way to corroborate Huff’s story, although the Eagles tried.
Roseman said he, owner Jeffrey Lurie, team president Don Smolenski and Pederson collectively made the decision to get rid of Huff.
When the Eagles assessed the event they felt it best to move on from Huff, the 2014 third-round draft pick out of Oregon, where he played under Chip Kelly.
Huff led the NFL with a 36.0-yard kickoff return average among candidates with five or more returns. He ran a kickoff back 98
yards for a score, one of two in his Philly career. Huff was a gadget player with 13 receptions for 72 yards and one TD, three rushes for 10 yards and threw a wide receiver pass.
Running back Kenjon Barner, who teamed with Huff at Oregon, will miss his buddy.
“I came in here a little bit before practice when I found out,” said Barner. “I told (Huff) to just keep your head up, man.’ It’s a tough situation to be in, so what exactly can you say to a guy who was already at his lowest, and then he gets cut? There’s not too much you can say to him. You try to be uplifted, tell him to stay grounded and know that better days are ahead.”
Those days almost certainly will be elsewhere.
The Eagles felt they had to send a message. They spelled it H-U-F-F.