Re­lease of Huff an ‘eye-opener’ for team­mates

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Bob Grotz bgrotz@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @BobGrotz on Twit­ter

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

were “dif­fer­ent.”

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.

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