Doug Pederson had a rough start to his career as an NFL head coach last summer.
In late July, Eagles linebacker Nigel Bradham was arrested for assault in a Florida hotel (he was also arrested on a gun charge during the team’s bye), just days after wide receiver Nelson Agholor was accused of rape at a Philly club (charges were never filed).
In addition, last November Josh Huff was arrested on gun charges and marijuana possession and was cut by the team, and 2016 draft pick Wendell Smallwood previously was involved in a murder allegation prior to his being drafted.
Other incidents have occured regarding current Eagles before Pederson’s tenure. Jason Peters has also had two run-ins with the law — resisting arrest after being pulled over for loud music in 2011 and drag racing in May 2013 — and newly signed Eagles running back LeGarrette Blount faced marijuana charges and a suspension.
The team has had a few hang ups off the field and suffice it to say, Pederson is concerned.
“Obviously from my standpoint, that’s a concern,” the coach said to Philly media members Wednesday when asked what his message would be to the team when the break minicamp at week’s end. “They have some time off before camp and my message is just going to be, ‘Guys, you just have to be smart. We’re building something. We’re building for the future and you want to definitely be a part of that and you don’t want to be doing anything that can disrupt not only what we’re trying to build here, but you’re representing yourself, your family and your name.’”
Seven arrests for active Eagles players over the last five years give the team the most of any NFC East team in that span. The players on the team will have about a month off to head home, relax, regroup and work out on their own before they report back to the NovaCare center for training camp on July 24.
The Eagles are attempting to build something special, and Pederson is steadfast to remind the players he is responsible of to avoid getting their names in the headlines during their time off.
“You’ve just got to be smart, the decisions and choices we make in life, and learn from past experiences,” Pederson said. “I think that’s a great teacher for everybody to learn from those. That will be my message for the guys and for all of us in the next couple of weeks.”