Sunday, July 31, 2011

Eagles sign veterean guard Mathis

The hits keep on coming from South Philly. The Eagles have now announced the signing of veteran guard Evan Mathis. 

Mathis isn't high-profile but he's played in 58 games (22 starts) over seven NFL seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals (2008-10), Miami Dolphins (2008), and Carolina Panthers (2005-07).

A third round draft choice of the Panthers in 2005, the 29-year-old played collegiately at Alabama, where he notched a streak of 47 consecutive starts in four seasons.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Dream Team adds another; Eagles sign DL Jenkins

The Eagles have announced that former Packers defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins has signed with the team. Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that it’s a five year, $25 million deal.

Jenkins played 11 games for the Super Bowl champion Packers last season, starting eight and recording seven sacks. The 30-year-old had played his entire seven-year career in Green Bay.

The Birds also traded underachieving defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley to Cleveland for the Browns’ fifth-round pick in 2012.

Bunkley was the Eagles’ first-round draft pick, No. 14 overall, in 2006. Last year Bunkley played through an elbow injury for most of the season and appeared in 14 games, starting five.

VY calls Eagles a dream team

Talk about jumping the gun...

Eagles new backup quarterback Vince Young gave the team a little unwanted attention when he declared them a "Dream team."

“From Nnamdi [Asomugha] to [Dominique Rodgers-]Cromartie, to Jason [Babin] to myself.  I know they are going to do some more things. . . .  It’s just beautiful to see where we’re trying to go," Young said.

It is beautiful but let's settle down a bit before, as Dennis Green would way, crowning  the Birds.

Remember VY was a bust in Tennessee, Asante Samuel is likely on the move and Babin has had one good year as a professional. Cromartie, meanwhile, was traded for a backup quarterback.

This isn't LeBron James taking his talents to "South Beach."

What is it?

A step in the right direction.

Eagles sign WR LaFrance

The Eagles have signed rookie free agent WR Jeremy LaFrance.

A two-year letterman at Akron, LaFrance (6-0, 197) appeared in 22 career games, posting 86 receptions for 1,054 yards and eight touchdowns. The 25-year-old transferred to Akron after playing for Fullerton (CA) Junior College in 2008, where he earned first-team California All-Region III honors after notching 36 receptions for 581 yards and four touchdowns while returning 13 punts for 188 yards and a touchdown. Prior to Fullerton, LaFrance spent the 2007 season at Compton (CA) Junior College.

A native of Belle Chasse, FL, LaFrance’s Louisiana home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina and he took the 2006 season off to help his family rebuild. He attended Kennedy High School in New Orleans, LA.

Union drop first home game this year

Chester, Pa. (July 29, 2011) - Playing a league match at PPL Park for the first time in more than a month, the Philadelphia Union dropped the first home game of the season 2-1 to the Colorado Rapids.

On a hot and humid evening in Chester, the Union (8-5-7) couldn’t break through a compressed Colorado (8-6-10) defense until late in stoppage time when Roger Torres netted his second goal of the season.

But the Rapids, who struggled through a 2-2 draw with New England in their previous MLS contest, used two first-half goals to hold onto the victory over the Union, who fell to 5-1-4 at home.  For Philadelphia, it was their first home loss since a 1-0 defeat to the LA Galaxy on October 7, 2010.

With momentum off a 1-0 victory over Everton and a strong performance in a 2-1 loss to Real Madrid in last week’s international matches, the Union pressed forward from the opening whistle, setting up the game’s first opportunity in the 2nd minute when a cleverly cut ball from Danny Mwanga found Justin Mapp on the right at the top of the box. But after touching towards the middle, Mapp sent the shot high and wide of frame.

In the 14th minute, Colorado built their first opportunity of the match as Pablo Mastroeni, who drew a penalty when the two teams met for the first time this season in Colorado, fired a shot over the bar from 20 yards out after strong combination play through the Union midfield.

Just one minute later, Sebastien Le Toux nearly set up Kyle Nakazawa in the box as the Union looked to open the scoring.  Racing onto a ball down the lefty wing, Le Toux sent a brilliant waist-high cross to the penalty spot where Nakazawa was unable to half-volley on goal.

With Philadelphia holding the ball in the Colorado half for extended periods of time, Sebastien Le Toux was taken down just on top of the box on a run towards the right corner setting up a dangerous kick.  Keon Daniel stepped up and rattled the shot off the top of the crossbar as the teams remained scoreless.

In the 30th, Philadelphia pushed forward again as this time Sheanon Williams made a 60-yard run down the right wing before serving a ball straight across the box just out of the reach of a sliding Mwanga.

After the Union failed to take advantage of the early opportunities, the Rapids took advantage on the other end opening the scoring in the 35th minute. A deflected ball found the pesky Mastroeni on the top right corner of the penalty box and with a deft touch, he eluded Carlos Valdes to the middle. With poise, he slotted home with his left past a diving Mondragon to put the visitors in front.

Though Philadelphia again built momentum in the minutes following the goal with Valdes sending a header just over and Mwanga trying a bicycle wide, it was Colorado who doubled the advantage seconds before halftime.  On a break in the 45th, Omar Cummings dribbled through the midfield and fed a through ball to the speedy Sanna Nyassi behind the Union defense. Nyassi finished easily for the 2-0 lead.

Immediately after the break, halftime sub Michael Farfan nearly put the Union on the board. Le Toux found Farfan on a through ball on the right side of the Colorado box and the rookie eluded three defenders with a series of nifty touches to the center of the box. But alone on top of the six yard box, Farfan sent the shot over the head of goalkeeper Matt Pickens into the stands.

Second-half play settled after the initial Philadelphia chance before Williams made an attacking run through the Colorado midfield and went down. Frustrated when a foul was not called, Williams was first shown a yellow and then a red for dissent as the Union was forced to play a man down for the final 26 minutes.

The Union attack became more dangerous and creative following the dismissal as second-half substitute Veljko Paunovic drove a shot off of the hand of Mastroeni at the top of the Colorado Box in the 70th minute. From 20 yards out, Le Toux sent the free kick off the top of the netting.

Then in the 83rd, Pickens was tested twice on a Union break as Torres created space in the box with his left and was denied before Le Toux put the rebound off a sliding Colorado goalkeeper.

Finally in stoppage time, the waves of Union attack broke through when Torres dribbled through the Colorado defense into the middle of the box and sent a well-placed shot into the top corner to make the score 2-1.

That set the stage for late game drama. Off the ensuing kick, the ball was played back to Faryd Mondragon in the Philadelphia net. Mondragon quickly sent the ball forward and it bounced to Brian Carroll 30 yards out on the right. Carroll sent a bending ball to the left of the Colorado net onto the head of Valdes, whose powerful redirection was punched away by Pickens as the final whistle sounded.

The loss snapped a five match unbeaten streak in league play for the Union. Philadelphia return to action on Wednesday evening at Chicago. Kickoff is scheduled for 9:00 on Comcast SportsNet.

Scoring Summary:

COL -- Pablo Mastroeni 1 (unassisted) 35 COL -- Sanna Nyassi 4 (Omar Cummings 6) 45 PHI -- Roger Torres 2 (unassisted) 92+

Misconduct Summary:

PHI -- Sheanon Williams (ejection; Abusive Language) 64 COL -- Caleb Folan (caution; Reckless Foul) 65 COL -- Brian Mullan (caution; Reckless Tackle) 67

Colorado Rapids -- Matt Pickens, Kosuke Kimura, Marvell Wynne, Tyrone Marshall (Scott Palguta 69), Drew Moor, Brian Mullan, Pablo Mastroeni (Joseph Nane 78), Sanna Nyassi, Jeff Larentowicz, Wells Thompson, Omar Cummings (Caleb Folan 61).

Substitutes Not Used: Andre Akpan, Mike Holody, Jamie Smith, Steward Ceus.

Philadelphia Union -- Faryd Mondragon, Sheanon Williams, Danny Califf, Carlos Valdes, Gabriel Farfan, Justin Mapp (Veljko Paunovic 72), Kyle Nakazawa (Roger Torres 46), Brian Carroll, Keon Daniel (Michael Farfan 46), Sebastien Le Toux, Danny Mwanga.

Substitutes Not Used: Jack McInerney, Stefani Miglioranzi, Amobi Okugo, Zac MacMath.

Referee: Jorge Gonzalez
Referee's Assistants: Claudio Badea; Matthew Kreitzer 4th Official: Armando Villarreal Time of Game: 1:52
Weather: Cloudy and 89 degrees
Attendance: 18,770

Eagles officially sign QB Young

The Eagles have agreed to terms with QB Vince Young on a one-year deal.

A two-time Pro Bowler, Young (6-5, 232) compiled a .638 winning percentage (30-17) in his 47 starts with the Tennessee Titans since 2006, which was the best by a quarterback in franchise history. He has engineered 11 career come-from-behind victories, including six in 2009. Young played in nine games (eight starts) in 2010 and set a career high in QB rating (98.6), completing 93 of 156 passes for 1,255 yards and 10 touchdowns.

The third overall selection in the 2006 NFL draft, Young was named the Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year that season after setting every rookie passing record for the franchise, and rushing for 552 yards and seven touchdowns. In doing so, he became the first rookie quarterback in the Super Bowl era (since 1966) to reach those rushing marks. Young has appeared in 54 career games (47 starts), completing 689 of 1,190 passes for 8,098 yards and 42 touchdowns. He has also amassed 1,380 yards on the ground and 12 rushing touchdowns.

During his three-year collegiate career at Texas, Young recorded a 30-2 record as a starter, giving him a .938 winning percentage that ranked sixth in NCAA history. He helped the Longhorns to a 20-game win streak from 2004 through his final college appearance in the Rose Bowl in 2005, which capped a 13-0 season as he was the game’s MVP. He finished his illustrious career completing 61.8 percent of his passes (444 of 718) for 6,040 yards (fifth in school history) and 44 touchdowns (fourth in school history). In addition, he rushed for 3,127 yards and 37 touchdowns, both school records by a quarterback. His 9,167 yards of total offense and 81 combined touchdowns in three seasons both set school records, while his combined yardage was the third-best in Big 12 history.

The 28-year-old Young is a native of Houston, TX, and attended Madison High School, where he was named the Texas 5A offensive player of the year as a senior.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Phillies get Pence

The Phillies and Astros have agreed on a deal that sends outfielder Hunter Pence to Philadelphia.

In return, the Astros netted minor leaguers Jonathan Singleton, Jarred Cosart and Josh Zeid along with a player to be named later.

The Phillies, who also received cash in the transaction, have been lacking in production from the right side of the plate since losing Jayson Werth to free agency in the offseason.

Pence is batting .308 this season with 11 home runs and 62 RBI, which led the Astros in each category. He started Friday's game against the Brewers before being pulled in the fifth inning.

"We tried to address a need we felt was a missing piece. We believe in our offense as it stands, but it's been a little inconsistent," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "It gives us a little more balance ... It gives us someone who is extremely well-rounded."

Viewed as a cornerstone for a rebuilding Astros club that entered Friday a major league-worst 35-70, the 28-year-old Pence is headed to a team that has made the playoffs each of the past four seasons and sits atop the National League East.
Pence, a two-time All-Star, has hit 103 home runs during his five-year career, though the .290 lifetime hitter strikes out roughly three times for every walk (519-194) and has been caught stealing more than once every three attempts (36-97).
Expected to play right field, Pence will likely take the starting spot of the slowly-progressing Domonic Brown, who was rumored to be on the trading block over the past few weeks.

"It's a win-win for both teams. I'm going to a first-place team, but they're getting four good players back," Pence said after the Astros were blanked by the Brewers, 4-0. "I'm pretty lucky to be going right into the middle of a pennant race."
The Astros and Phillies also completed a trade-deadline deal last year, as Roy Oswalt was sent to Philly in exchange for a pair of prospects and pitcher J.A. Happ, who has gone 4-12 with a 6.12 earned run average in his first full season in Houston.

This time, the Astros acquired Single-A players in Singleton, a 19-year-old outfielder who is hitting .282 in Clearwater, and Cosart, a 21-year-old righty who has compiled a 9-8 record with a 3.92 ERA this season.

Zeid, 25, was 2-3 with two saves and a 5.65 ERA at Double-A Reading.

To fill their open roster spot, the Astros purchased the contract of outfielder J.D. Martinez from Double-A Corpus Christi.

Cornering the market; Eagles shock NFL, sign Asomugha

The Eagles have agreed to terms with Pro Bowl CB Nnamdi Asomugha along with Bowl DE Jason Babin, each to five-year deals. 

The team also signed WR Johnnie Lee Higgins and TE Donald Lee, each to one-year deals.

A three-time Pro Bowler from 2008-10 and a four-time All Pro selection (2006, 2008-10), Asomugha (6-2, 210) has played in 122 career games (99 starts), and accumulated 310 tackles, 11 interceptions, 62 passes defensed and two sacks. Widely regarded as one of the top cover cornerbacks in the NFL, Asomugha earned his third straight trip to the Pro Bowl in 2010 after contributing 19 tackles and six passes defensed, anchoring a Raiders defense that ranked second in the NFL behind San Diego by allowing just 189.2 passing yards per game. 

Originally a first-round draft choice of the Raiders in 2003, the 30-year old cornerback spent his first eight seasons in Oakland after starring collegiately at California. Since his arrival in Oakland, the Raiders have allowed a league-low 2177 completions. He enjoyed one of his finest seasons in 2006 after tying for third in the NFL with eight interceptions and adding 50 tackles, one sack and a 24-yard interception return touchdown. That season, he was selected by the team as the Raiders MVP. A native of Lafayette, LA, Asomugha finished his collegiate career at California with 187 tackles, three sacks, seven interceptions and three touchdown returns. He attended Narbone high school in Los Angeles, and was one of the nation’s top recruits as a senior. His name means “Jesus Lives” in Nigerian. Following the 2009 season, Asomugha was honored as the Byron “Whizzer” White NFL Man of the Year.

Now in his second stint in Philadelphia, Babin (6-3, 260) started in all 16 games for the Tennessee Titans in 2010, setting career highs in tackles (93), sacks (12.5) and force fumbles (2), en route to his first Pro Bowl appearance. His 12.5 sacks ranked third in the AFC (sixth in the NFL) behind Tamba Hali (14.5) and Cameron Wake (14). A former first round draft choice (27th overall) of Houston in 2004, Babin has spent time with the Texans (2004-06), Seahawks (2007-08), Chiefs (2008), Eagles (2009) and Titans (2010). He has appeared in 82 career games, amassing 289 tackles, 30 sacks, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

A two-time MAC defensive player of the year and first-team All-MAC selection at Western Michigan, Babin appeared in 47 games in his collegiate career, setting the school record for sacks (38) and tackles for a loss (75). The 31-year-old attended Paw Paw High School (MI), earning first-team All-Kalamazoo Valley honors as a senior.

Higgins (5-11, 185) has recorded 57 receptions for 779 yards and four touchdowns in his four-year career, all with the Oakland Raiders. He also has racked up 973 yards and three touchdowns on 115 punt returns (8.5-yard average). His finest season came in 2008 when he registered career highs in receptions (22), yards (366), and touchdowns (4). He was voted to Sports Illustrated’s All-Pro team after leading the NFL with 570 punt return yards and three touchdowns that year (including an NFL-long 93-yarder). His 13.0 yards per return ranked fourth. Originally a third round draft pick of the Raiders in 2007, the 27-year-old Higgins played collegiately at UTEP, where he concluded his career with 4,545 all-purpose yards, which was the second-best mark in school history. A native of Sweeny, TX, Higgins attended Sweeny high school and was voted as the team’s MVP after playing wide receiver, cornerback and quarterback during his junior and senior seasons. 

An eight-year NFL veteran, Lee (6-4, 248) has played in 124 career games (64 starts) with the Dolphins (2003-04) and Packers (2005-10). The 30-year old has compiled 198 receptions for 1,875 yards and 19 touchdowns. In 2010, he played in 15 games and had 11 catches for 73 yards and 3 touchdowns, and his best season came in 2007 when he racked up 575 yards and six touchdowns on 48 receptions.

Donovan McNabb arrives at Winter Park in Minnesota

Courtesy Vikings Entertainment Network

Alvarez set to defend Bellator lightweight title in Atlantic City

CHICAGO - Philadelphia native Eddie Alvarez his Bellator lightweight championship against Michael Chandler on October 15th from the Boardwalk Hall Ballroom in Atlantic City.

Chandler earned the shot after a spectacular  run through the Bellator Season 4 Lightweight Tournament, with victories over Polish prodigy Marcin Held, submission specialist Lloyd Woodard and explosive Brazilian Patricky Pitbull,

“Fighting this close to home on this big of stage is awesome,” said Alvarez. “I’ve never lost a fight in the States, and I certainly don’t plan on losing this one. I’ve never had this much time to prepare for a fight, and you’re going to see that preparation on display October 15th.”

Alvarez brings a near perfect record into the fight, as the Kensington product sports an impressive 22-2 professional record, with Bellator tournament wins over Greg Loughran, Eric Reynolds, and Toby Imada during his Season 1 Lightweight Tournament Championship run.

This won’t be Alvarez’s first title defense, as he successfully defended his title against current Featherweight Tournament Finalist Pat Curran at Bellator 39.  The two engaged in a five round battle that eventually ended with Alvarez securing a unanimous decision victory. Having time to scout the competition, Alvarez is more than ready to take on an eager Chandler.

“I watched the Lightweight Tournament very closely, and was really impressed with a lot of the competition,” Alvarez said. “Knowing that Chandler is my opponent, I’ve already gone back and started to watch film, and I’ll be ready. He brings a really good pace, and it’s going to be a great fight.”

For Chandler, the undefeated product out of Xtreme Couture looks to be one of the toughest tests that Alvarez has faced during his distinguished career. Only 25, Chandler brings an impressive wrestling pedigree with an improved striking game that was on display during his Bellator Lightweight Finals appearance against Patricky Pitbull at Bellator 44. Having studied Alvarez’s previous fights, Chandler already feels prepared for what faces him at Bellator 54.

“Eddie is obviously a world class lightweight, but in a lot of the fights I have watched, no one has really pushed the pace against him. I want to put him on his heels, and make him respond to what I’m doing in the cage. I’ve got a few months to prepare, and I’ll be more than ready for October 15th.”

“Anyone that has heard me speak on the topic knows I feel Eddie Alvarez is the best lightweight in the world,” said Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney. “With that said, Michael’s tournament run was one of the most impressive displays I’ve seen from any fighter, and their title fight on October 15th should be an absolute war. As a fan of the sport, this is a fight I can’t wait to see”
For more information, visit, follow Bellator on Twitter @BellatorMMA or on Facebook at

Bradley to Arizona

Former Eagles middle linebacker Stewart Bradley will agree to terms with the Cardinals later today according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

Kolb takes parting shot at Philly

At his introductory press conference with the Arizona Cardinals Kevin Kolb said he was impressed by Arizona back in NFC title game and liked how clean the area was before deadpanning: "Granted, I was coming from Philadelphia."

Kolb trade proves Reid is one of NFL's best

Eagles coach Andy Reid - courtesy of Scott T. Sturkol
By John McMullen

PHILADELPHIA (The Phanatic Magazine) - Turn on sports radio in Philadelphia, and you will hear a similar refrain over and over -- the local fans appreciate hard work and hustle.

It's become a tired cliche in this town. 'You don't have to be a superstar, just play hard.'

In fact, the tag line for the Philly faithful goes something like this: "This is a blue-collar town. If you bust your a**, people will love you."

Well, then how do you explain Eagles head coach Andy Reid?

Reid is a true superstar in his profession. A coach with five NFC championship games and a Super Bowl on his resume renowned for his tireless work ethic.

Mention Reid's name around the NFL and people practically genuflect when talking about him. However, he's never been well-liked by his own fans.

Sure, Reid, at least in public, has the personality of a wet mop and the charisma of the bag boy at your local grocery store, but he's also turned the Eagles into a consistently solid, respected team in the NFC.

A colleague of mine told me the one word that best describes the relationship between fans of the Eagles and Reid is "overexposure."

I countered with "spoiled."

Yep, the same fans who suffered through Joe Kuharich, Mike McCormack, Marion Campbell, Rich Kotite and Ray Rhodes think those five NFC championship games aren't good enough.

The latest example of Reid's brilliance and the cachet he carries around the league was the Kevin Kolb trade in which the Eagles sent an unproven commodity out to the desert for a young cornerback that has already made the Pro Bowl in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, along with a second round pick.

On paper, it looks like a steal for the Birds because -- well it is.

But understand the Cardinals, who signed Kolb to a massive extension despite his 3-4 career record as a starter and his 11-to-14 touchdown-to-interception ratio, aren't betting on the Texas native, they are going all in on Reid and the assumption that the game's quarterback guru worked his magic on Kolb.

In truth he did and didn't.

"I think [Kolb's] hard work is rewarded for him having the position that he’s in, and rewarding this football team by him leaving, we're able to get first-round compensation and a second round pick," Reid said after pulling off a heist Bonnie and Clyde would have been proud of. "Obviously, Dominique is a first-round talent at corner, and you get the second round pick. That tells you that other people believed he was a good football player."

Reid was able to use smoke and mirrors to convince others that Kolb was still a prospect, even though he threw in the towel on him quickly last year after seeing the Houston product wilt when the real bullets were flying.

I suppose Reid's unpopularity in Phiilly all boils down to the lack of a Super Bowl title, but "Big Red" has once again given himself a solid shot at the brass ring.

Perceived defensive deficiencies have been filled with the additions of Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Babin along with Rodgers-Cromartie. And the Eagles are set to replace Kolb with a much more talented backup quarterback in Vince Young.

Heck, give Andy one year with V.Y. and he may get another second round pick.

As always, one thing is assured for the Eagles this season, win or lose -- they will be prepared. They always are.

"None of us can predict the future, and that’s what makes [sports] such a great thing," Reid said. "You prepare like crazy to perform at the highest level you can."

Reid has already performed at the highest level and cemented himself as the best NFL coach not named Bill Belichick -- whether Philly knows it or not.

Robinson Cano Autographed Baseball

Rocca signs with 'Skins

The Redskins have agreed to terms with former agles punter Sav Rocca, according to 106.7 The Fan.

The 37-year old Rocca is coming off the best season of his career, averaging 43.8 yards per punt for the Eagles last season.

49ers land Akers

The San Francisco 49ers have come to terms on a reported three-year contract with five-time Pro Bowl kicker David Akers.

Akers had spent the previous 12 seasons as the best kicker in Eagles history.

Although the deal cannot become official until Friday at 6 p.m. (et) when the free agent signing period commences, Akers made it known which team he was joining on Twitter.

"I'm really excited to be a 49er!!!," Akers wrote.

The 36-year-old Akers has spent all but one contest of his 189-game career kicking for Philadelphia, but the Eagles drafted Alex Henery out of Nebraska in the fourth round this year.

Akers has been nearly automatic inside 30 yards in his career, missing just one of 101 such kicks. He's 294-of-359 for his career.

Akers holds several Eagles franchise records, including most field goals and extra points. He also owns the NFL record for consecutive postseason field- goal conversions with 19.

Temple's Liverpool signs with Lions

Marquise Liverpool 
PHILADELPHIA – Defensive back Marquise Liverpool  became the eighth Temple Owl to sign a rookie free agent contract with an NFL team when he agreed to terms with Detroit Lions.

Liverpool of Ramsey, N.J. was named the Owls' 2010 Special Teams’ MVP, when he started all 12 games at corner last fall, one of just seven Temple players to start every game.

Liverpool is the 10th Owl to join the NFL this preseason.  He joins NFL draft picks DT Muhammad Wilkerson (New York Jets) and S Jaiquawn Jarrett (Philadelphia Eagles) as well as free agent signees WR Michael Campbell (New York Jets); TE Vaughn Charlton (Pittsburgh Steelers); twins LB Elijah “Peanut” Joseph and DT Eli Joseph (Green Bay Packers); LB Amara Kamara (Kansas City Chiefs); OL Colin Madison (Baltimore Ravens); and OL Darius Morris (Houston Texans).

Eagles officially announce the signing of Locke along with WR Carlos

Derrick Locke
The Eagles have announced they have signed rookie free agents WR Keith Carlos and RB Derrick Locke.

A two-year letterman at Purdue, Carlos (6-1, 193) moved from wide receiver to running back as a senior and went on to rush for 314 yards and two touchdowns. He appeared in nine games as a junior in 2009, catching 21 passes for 242 yards and one touchdown. Prior to Purdue, the 23-year-old played at Lackawanna College in Scranton, PA, earning second-team all-conference honors after posting 26 receptions for 459 yards and four touchdowns. He attended Bridgeport High School (CT), garnering first-team, all-state accolades as a senior.

Locke (5-9, 190) amassed 2,618 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns while posting 95 receptions for 883 yards and three touchdowns in his four-year career at Kentucky. Despite missing four games to injury as a senior in 2010, he rushed for 887 yards and ten scores while averaging 26.3 yards on kickoff returns. Locke earned second-team All-SEC honors as a junior in 2009 after ranking sixth in the conference with 903 yards on the ground. In addition, he was named the team’s Most Outstanding First Year Player as a freshman after leading the team with five rushing touchdowns and ranking second in rushing yards (521). The Oklahoma City, OK, native attended Hugo High School, where he was named the Most Valuable Player of Oklahoma Class AAA as a senior.

Locke originally signed with Minnesota but failed his physical there.

Young set to sign with Eagles

QB Vince Young
As expected, the Eagles will be signing Vince Young to a 1-year deal take over as their backup quarterback, according to Albert Breer of the NFL Network..

Weaver released; Lloyd signed

The Eagles have agreed to terms with 7th round draft choice Greg Lloyd to a four-year contract. 

The 22-year old Lloyd (6-1, 247) started 23 games at middle linebacker at the University of Connecticut, amassing 177 tackles, three sacks and an interception. He earned second-team All-Big East honors following the 2009 season after starting 10 games and finishing second on the squad with a career-high 91 tackles and one sack. A native of Clermont, FL, Lloyd attended East Ridge High School, where he earned All-Central Florida honors. He is the son of former Steelers linebacker Greg Lloyd. 

As of now, the Eagles have inked 10 of their 11 draft picks, with only first round draft choice Danny Watkins remaining unsigned.

The team also jettisoned five players, including former Pro Bowl fullback Leonard Weaver, who suffered a  career-threatening knee injury last year on opening day.

The Weaver release sparked some controversy when he claimed that he learned the Eagles had released him earlier in the day when he was contacted by Comcast SportsNet’s Derrick Gunn.

“Hey there Eagles nation, I'm sorry to say but I just found out I was released by the Eagles,” Weaver Tweeted. “The kicker behind that is that the organization didn't call me and tell me. I had to find out by a reporter.

“Now I have mixed feeling about that because I gave everything I had to the organization, and I would think that they would at least call ... and let me know what was going on, but as I have learned over the years, fans, business is business. ... However, I wish the best for the Philadelphia Eagles.”

An Eagles spokesman responded later Thursday saying Weaver was informed by a team official that he was released before the information was released to the media. 

Weaver also Tweeted recently that his doctors already ruled him for 2011, but he does plan to return.

The Birds also released defensive tackle DT Jeremy Clark, cornerback Gerard Lawson, defensive tackle Jeff Owens, who failed his physical and wide receiver Jeremy Williams.

“I want to thank all of these players for their hard work and efforts during the course of their time in Philadelphia,” said general manager Howie Roseman. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for all of our players who battle through all of the highs and lows of playing in the National Football League. To see a guy like Leonard Weaver play in the Pro Bowl one year and suffer a devastating injury in the first game of the following year is especially tough. I wish all five men nothing but the best.”.

Birds sign RFA WR Jones

The Eagles have added rookie free agent WR Gerald Jones to the mix.

Jones (5-10, 195) amassed 142 receptions, 1,710 yards and 13 touchdowns in his four-year career at Tennessee. He also contributed 204 rushing yards and three touchdowns. As a senior in 2010, Jones reeled in a career-high 55 receptions for 596 yards and four touchdowns.

A native of Oklahoma City, OK, Jones attended Millwood high school, where he was the 2006 Gatorade Player of the Year in Oklahoma after rushing for 1,202 yards and 11 touchdowns and throwing for 1,561 yards and 21 touchdowns as a senior.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Is the NBA intent on following the NHL's model?

By John McMullen

PHILADELPHIA - The glass-is-half-full crowd who thinks the NBA lockout will follow the NFL's lead may be off base, at least according to NBPA executive director Billy Hunter.

In the end, the NFL's lockout amounted to the teachers going on strike in the summer. Sure, hardcore fans may have missed their daily dose of football news but casual onlookers could have cared less and when things kick off for real in September, few will remember that the players and owners were acting like petulant children for over 140 days.

As the NBA and its Players' Association get ready for their first collective bargaining talks since their lockout began, set for August 1, both sides remain worlds apart.

The owners' talking points center on a "broken system" that needs to rein in spending and allow the so-called lesser franchises a better opportunity to compete both on the court and in the financial ledgers.

The players, on the other hand, like the previous CBA and point to the league's burgeoning revenues as proof it works, claiming a tweak or two on the revenue sharing side would cure all the league's woes.

Hunter is preparing his constituents for Armageddon, feeling commissioner David Stern and the owners are intent on following the 2004-05 NHL model -- shut down the sport for a year, watch the players break and get everything they want.

"They are trying to do the same thing here that they did in the case of the NHL and they're following the same blueprint," Hunter told Jonathan Abrams of "I know it, and I preached it time and again to our players from the inception.

"I've said the same thing: They're not negotiating in good faith; they have no desire or intentions of getting a deal without a lockout because if they think they can threaten us or lock us out for a year or whatever, that the players will cave and they'll get everything they want."

The NHL lockout, of course, was the first time a major professional sports league in North America canceled a complete season because of a labor dispute and the first time Stanley Cup wasn't awarded since 1919. It lasted 310 days and dropped the guarantee players got from over 70 percent of the league's total revenues, a ludicrous figure compared to other major sports, to 54 percent.

Things in the NBA are quite different, however. First of all, the players and owners are fighting over billions, not hundreds of millions. In fact, the amount of revenue the league generates is staggering.

On July 22, the NBA and NBPA completed the 2010-11 NBA season audit of Basketball Related Income (BRI) and player compensation. The results showed that BRI increased by 4.8 percent from $3.643 billion in 2009-10 to $3.817 billion in 2010- 11. Meanwhile, total player compensation also increased by 4.8 percent from $2.076 billion to $2.176 billion.

It marked the sixth consecutive season that player compensation increased under the expired CBA and total player compensation equaled 57 percent of BRI, a far cry from the 70-plus percent in the pre-lockout NHL.

That said, in a very shaky world economy, the average player salary in the NBA last season was $5.15 million and over the six-year term of the expired CBA, the average player salary increased by a healthy 16 percent.

It's clear that the players have to give something back, the question is how much?

The key number is that 57 percent of BRI. Hunter's latest offer sought a reduction in the revenue split down to 54.7 percent, a $100 million "give back" in order to keep the previous system in place. The owners, meanwhile, have blustered about 40 percent and a harder more restrictive salary cap system.

That's farther apart than the Israelis and Palestinians.

Compromise is the answer with a 50-50 split seen as the eventual end game.

Like any politically fueled conflict, how quickly the NBA and its players get there has more to do with ideology and testosterone than rational, lucid thinking.

Bob Bradley out as coach for U.S. Soccer Team

CHICAGO - U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati announced today that Bob Bradley has been relieved of his duties as the head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team.

“We want to thank Bob Bradley for his service and dedication to U.S. Soccer during the past five years,” said Gulati. “During his time as the head coach of our Men’s National Team he led the team to a number of accomplishments, but we felt now was the right time for us to make a change. It is always hard to make these decisions, especially when it involves someone we respect as much as Bob. We wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

This announcement comes after a meeting at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., between Gulati, Bradley and U.S. Soccer CEO Dan Flynn.

Bradley was named the head coach of the U.S. MNT in January of 2007 and during his five-year tenure compiled a 43-25-12 record. He led the team to a number of accomplishments, including winning the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup, finishing second in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, winning their World Cup qualifying group and advancing to the Round of 16 of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

U.S. Soccer will have a further announcement on Friday.

Graham, Justice begin camp on PUP

Defensive end Brandon Graham and right tackle Winston Justice have been placed on the physically unable to perform list by the Eagles, while wide receiver Jeremy Maclin and Pro Bowl cornerback Asante Samuel were given excused absences from the first day of camp for personal reasons

Kolb to Arizona finally done

Kevin Kolb
Our long national nightmare is over.

ESPN's John Clayton is reporting that the long rumored Kevin Kolb trade with Arizona is done. The Eagles received a starting cornerback, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and a No. 2 pick.

The Cardinals have reportedly reached an agreement on a contract extension with Kolb that will pay him $63 million, including $20 million in guaranteed money.

In related news the FBI is currently trying to pick up Andy Reid, Joe Banner and Howie Roseman for felony theft.

A first round draft pick (16th overall) of Arizona in 2008, Rodgers-Cromartie (6-2, 182) has recorded 16 interceptions (13 regular season, three playoffs) in 54 career games (49 starts) since entering the league. That total ranks him fourth among all NFL cornerbacks during that span behind new teammate Asante Samuel (22) and the Packers’ Tramon Williams (18) and Charles Woodson (18). In addition, his four interception return touchdowns since 2008 ranks tied for second among all NFL CBs behind Woodson (6).

Rodgers-Cromartie started in all 16 games in 2010, posting 44 tackles, three interceptions and a career-high two INTs returned for touchdowns. He garnered Pro Bowl honors following the 2009 season after posting 51 tackles, a career-high six interceptions, three forced fumbles and 33 passes defensed. In 2008, he earned All-Rookie honors from the Sporting News and the PFWA after tying for the NFL lead among rookies with four INTs. That included a 99-yard return for a touchdown vs. StL (12/7/08), which tied a Cardinals record for the longest in franchise history. A versatile player, he has also blocked two kicks in his career, both of which led directly to points for the Cardinals.

A two-time All-American and a three-time All-Ohio Valley first-team selection at Tennessee State, Rodgers-Cromartie appeared in 44 games (39 starts) in his collegiate career, recording 11 interceptions and four touchdown returns. He also starred on the track field as he earned the Top Male Athlete award at the Indoor Track Championship in 2007, winning the 60-meter dash, long jump and high jump events.

The 25-year-old is a native of Bradenton, FL, and attended Lakewood Ranch High School, where he was an all-area, all-class 5A, and all-district defensive back and wide receiver.

Flyers reach agreement with Trenton to be ECHL affiliate

PHILADELPHIA - The Flyers have entered into a minor league affiliation agreement with the Trenton Titans of the ECHL for the 2011-12 season.

The agreement also includes cross-promotional opportunities to help the Titans sell tickets through the Flyers fan base.

“The Philadelphia Flyers and the Comcast-Spectacor Family of Companies are excited to be affiliated with the Trenton Titans,” said Comcast-Spectacor President Peter Luukko. “As our ECHL affiliate, we’re confident that our prospects will be playing in an environment here in Trenton that will help them develop their ultimate potential.”

By realigning their affiliation with the Flyers, the Titans, which played the past four seasons as the Trenton Devils, will continue playing at the Sun National Bank Center. When Trenton first entered the ECHL, the team was originally affiliated with the Flyers.

“In addition, with our management company, Global Spectrum, operating the arena, and with our advertising and sales division, Front Row Marketing Services, selling sponsorship opportunities for the Titans, we will create cross-promotional opportunities to help grow their fan base and fill the arena,” added Luukko.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for hockey fans in Trenton and the surrounding region to identify new up-and-coming future prospects and watch them grow into possible NHL stars,” said Luukko.

“To be affiliated with the Philadelphia Flyers and Adirondack Phantoms will greatly enhance what it means to be a member of the Trenton Titans,” said Titans President/CEO Rich Lisk. “The Flyers are committed to winning at every level. We hope to help them with that commitment by developing their future AHL and NHL players.”

Trenton will serve as Philadelphia’s secondary affiliate for the upcoming season.  Under the agreement, players under contract to the Flyers or to their American Hockey League affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms, can be assigned to the Titans. Trenton replaces the Greenville Road Warriors, which served as the Flyers’ ECHL affiliate during the 2010-11 season.

The ECHL is the third-longest tenured professional hockey league behind only the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League. The ECHL began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states and has grown to be a coast-to-coast league with 20 teams in 15 states and British Columbia in 2009-10. The league officially changed its name from East Coast Hockey League to ECHL on May 19, 2003.

Jackson holdout is on

DeSean Jackson
DeSean Jackson’s expected holdout  came to fruition Thursday morning.

The dynamic fourth-year wideout missed the Eagles' first  practice of the year.

Babin returns to Birds

Jason Babin - courtesy of Ed Yourdon
FOXSports' Jay Glazer is reporting that defensive end Jason Babin will re-join the Eagles and has agreed to a five-year contract.

Babin, a former first round pick, is coming off a breakout Pro Bowl season in which he recorded 12.5 sacks under Jim Washburn in Tennessee. Washburn, of course, is Philadelphia's new defensive line coach.

Eagles sign 9 draft picks including Temple's Jarrett

Jaiquawn Jarrett
The Eagles have agreed to terms with nine of their 11 draft picks. Each player agreed to a four-year contract. Only first round draft pick Danny Watkins and 7th round draft pick Greg Lloyd remain unsigned.

The players who agreed to contracts today are listed below:

Safety Jaiquawn Jarrett (6-0, 196) was a second round pick (54th overall). A local product out of Temple University, Jarrett played in 49 games (43 starts), finishing his career ranked 11th in school history with 299 tackles and eighth with nine interceptions. He was a first-team All-America selection by Pro Football Weekly in 2010 and a unanimous first-team All-MAC performer after starting 12 games and leading the team with 74 tackles and two interceptions. The 21-year old is a native of Brooklyn, NY and attended fort Hamilton High School, where he was an all-state selection in football, helping his team to a city championship in both his junior and senior seasons.

Cornerback Curtis Marsh (6-0, 197) was a third round draft choice (90th overall). He played two seasons at cornerback for the Utah State Aggies after converting from running back following his sophomore campaign. He earned All-WAC second-team honors following his senior season after starting 12 games and notching two interceptions. For his career, he registered 78 tackles, three interceptions, 18 passes defensed, and one blocked punt. He also rushed for 487 yards and four touchdowns. The 23-year old is a native of Simi Valley, CA, and attended Royal High School where he starred in football and track. He is the son of Curtis Marsh, Sr., who was a wide receiver for the Jacksonville Jaguars (1995-96) and Pittsburgh Steelers (1997).

Linebacker Casey Matthews was a fourth round draft choice (116th overall). A four-year letterman at Oregon, Matthews was a two-time All-Pac 10 selection after starting in 33 of 50 games and recording 245 tackles, 30.5 tackles for a loss, nine sacks, four interceptions and one forced fumble. He finished as a finalist for the Ronnie Lott Impact Award in 2010 after amassing 79 tackles and three sacks during his senior season. A native of Westlake Village, CA, Matthews attended Oaks Christian High School. He is the sixth member of the Matthews family to play in the NFL. His grandfather, Clay Matthews Sr., played four seasons as a linebacker and offensive tackle for the San Francisco 49ers (1950, 1953-55). His father, Clay Matthews, Jr., played 19 years at linebacker for the Cleveland Browns (1978-93) and Atlanta Falcons (1994-96), earning four Pro Bowl berths along the way. His uncle, Bruce Matthews, is a Hall of Fame offensive lineman, playing 19 seasons for the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans (1983-2001). His older brother, Clay Matthews III, is a two-time Pro Bowl linebacker for the Green Bay Packers. Finally, his cousin, Kevin Matthews, is a center for the Tennessee Titans (2010-present).

Kicker/punter Alex Henery (6-1, 177) was a fourth round draft choice (120th overall). The most accurate kicker in NCAA history, Henery finished his career at the University of Nebraska with 397 points on 68 of 76 field goals (89.5%). He also racked up 6,201 yards on 147 punts (41.3 average), downing 57 inside the 20 with only 12 touchbacks. He earned first-team All-America honors in 2010 after connecting on 18 of 19 field goal attempts (94.7%), while averaging 43.2 yards on 69 punts. A native of Omaha, NE, the 23-year old attended Burke High School, where he played football and soccer. He was named to Nebraska’s 2010 Brook Berringer Citizenship Team for his community outreach work, and was an Allstate AFCA Good Works Team nominee for his volunteerism.

Running back Dion Lewis (5-8, 195) was a fifth round draft choice (149th overall). The 20-year old rushed for 2,860 yards in just two seasons at Pittsburgh, eclipsing a school record once held by new Eagles teammate LeSean McCoy for the most rushing yards by a player after his sophomore season. He finished his two-year career ranked fourth on the school’s all-time rushing list. He finished the 2010 season with 1,016 yards and 13 touchdowns, adding 27 receptions for 216 yards. In 2009, he was named Big East Offensive Player of the Year, as well as National Freshman of the Year after compiling 1,799 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns. A native of Blairstown, NJ, Lewis attended Blair Academy, where he was named the New Jersey Prep Offensive Player of the Year as a senior after rushing for 1,243 yards and averaging 14.1 yards per carry.

Guard Julian Vandervelde (6-2, 300) was a fifth round draft choice (161st overall). The 23-year old was a four-year letterman at Iowa, starting in 37 games at both left and right guard. He earned second-team All-Big Ten honors as a senior in 2010. A native of Davenport, IA, Vandervelde lettered in baseball, wrestling and track at Central High School. He earned first-team all-state honors in football, advanced to the state wrestling tournament, and won the Class 4A shot put title during his junior season.

Center/guard Jason Kelce (6-3, 282) was a sixth round draft choice (191st overall). The 23-year old started his final 38 games at Cincinnati, earning second-team All-Big East honors following his junior and senior seasons in 2009 and 2010. A native of Cleveland, OH, Kelce attended Cleveland Heights High School where he earned All Lake Erie-Lake League honors as a linebacker and running back.

Linebacker Brian Rolle (5-10, 227) was a sixth round draft choice (193rd overall). The 22-year old was a four-year letterman at Ohio State, amassing 210 tackles, four interceptions and 3.5 sacks. He earned first-team All-Big Ten Conference honors after leading the team with 76 tackles, 2.5 sacks and two interceptions as a senior in 2010. A native of Immokalee, FL, Rolle has several family members with NFL ties, as he is the cousin of Giants safety Antrel Rolle and former Ravens cornerback Samari Rolle. Another cousin, Myron Rolle, was a sixth round draft choice of the Titans in 2010, and his brother, William, played collegiately at Illinois State.

Fullback Stanley Havili (6-0, 230) was a seventh round draft choice (240th overall). The 23-year old played in 52 career games at USC, totaling 1,799 scrimmage yards (1,290 receiving, 509 rushing) and 15 total touchdowns in his collegiate career. A team captain, he earned All-Pac 10 honorable mention accolades as a senior in 2010 after amassing 32 receptions for 296 yards and two touchdowns, while adding 166 rushing yards and one touchdown. A native of Salt Lake City, UT, Havili earned All-America honors at Cottonwood High School after accumulating 2,652 all-purpose yards and 32 touchdowns as a senior.

Hohensee out as Soul coach

Mike Hohensee
PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia Soul announced that Mike Hohensee has resigned as head coach of the team effective immediately.  In addition, his entire coaching staff was relieved of their duties after the Soul finished the 2011 season with a 6-12 record.

“I enjoyed my time in Philadelphia,” said Hohensee.  “I appreciate the opportunity I was given by the Soul organization and wish them nothing but the best in the future.  I was blessed to meet so many wonderfully loyal fans and to develop so many friendships in the community that I will always cherish.  I would like to give special thanks to my coaches, support staff and players for their dedication and professionalism throughout this difficult season.”

“We’d like to thank Mike for his time and dedication to the organization,” said Soul co-majority owner Ron Jaworski.  “We appreciate his efforts to help us get re-started and wish him well in the future.  Now we begin our search for a new head coach with the goal of winning the ArenaBowl in 2012.”

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Seven Owls sign rookie free agent deals

PHILADELPHIA - Seven Temple Owls have reportedly signed rookie free agent contracts with NFL teams this week.

Joining the professional ranks are wide receiver Michael Campbell (New York Jets); tight end Vaughn Charlton (Pittsburgh Steelers); twins linebacker Elijah “Peanut” Joseph and defensive tackle Eli Joseph (Green Bay Packers); linebacker Amara Kamara (Kansas City Chiefs); offensive lineman Colin Madison (Baltimore Ravens); and offensive lineman Darius Morris (Houston Texans).

The Owl free agents join NFL draft picks defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson (first round by the New York Jets) and safety Jaiquawn Jarrett (second round by the Philadelphia Eagles).

The Temple class of nine NFL signees is the most in school history.

Campbell (Edison, N.J.) was a 2010 third-team All-MAC honoree. He was named the team’s 2010 Offensive MVP after playing in all 12 games with 10 starts. The Owls’ top receiver finished with 724 yards and six touchdowns on 45 receptions last fall.

Charlton (Landenberg, Pa.) was a two-year team captain. He moved to tight end in the spring of 2010 after playing quarterback for three seasons. Cited on the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll and the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Academic All-Area Football Team, Charlton played in all 12 games with two starts at tight end.  As a junior in 2009, he finished the season 107-of-213 for 1,390 yards and 10 touchdowns while leading the Owls to an appearance in the EagleBank Bowl.

Peanut Joseph (Hartford, Conn.) was a game captain and a 2010 second-team All-MAC honoree. The recipient of the team’s 2010 Carlos Diaz Award as the most improved player, he played in 11 games with eight starts at middle linebacker. Joseph finished the season second in defense with 71 tackles, including a team-best 46 solo tackles, and a team-high six break-ups.  He suffered a season-ending knee injury in the second quarter of the Ohio game, leading the Owls at halftime with six solo tackles.

Eli Joseph (Hartford, Conn.) was a team captain and a 2010 first-team All-MAC honoree. Cited on the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll, the Academic All-MAC Team, and the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Academic All-Area Football Team, he started all 12 games at nose tackle. Joseph finished with 44 tackles on the season.

Kamara (Newark, N.J.) was the recipient of the Athletic Dept.’s 2011 Temple Teammates Award for community service and was named to the 2010 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team. The team captain started all 12 games at outside linebacker, one of just seven Owls to start every game. He finished fourth on defense with 67 tackles and four break-ups.

Madison (Villa Park, Ill.) was a two-time first-team All-MAC honoree.  The team captain was also the recipient of the team’s Top Hog Award as the best offensive lineman. He played in all 12 games with nine starts at right guard and two starts at left guard last fall. Madison was a two-sport athlete at Temple. He also threw the shot put for the Owls’ track and field team.

Morris (Long Branch, N.J.) was a two-time first-team All-MAC honoree. The team captain received the 2009 Top Hog Award as the team’s best offensive lineman. As a senior in 2010, he started all 12 games at right tackle, one of just seven Owls to start every game.

Temple opens the 2011 season with cross-city rival Villanova in the third annual Mayor’s Cup, sponsored by Dunkin’ Donuts, at Lincoln Financial Field on Thursday, Sept. 1.

Eagles single game tix on sale Aug. 2

Eagles single-game tickets and standing room only tickets will go on sale for 2011 home games on Tuesday, August 2 at 10:00 am.

Fans can purchase tickets at that time by visiting, or by dialing 800-745-3000. Please note that there is a four-ticket limit per person, per order.

The Eagles 2011 home schedule is listed below:


Thursday, August 11 vs. Baltimore … 7:30 pm
Thursday, August 25 vs. Cleveland … 7:30 pm

Regular Season

Sunday, September 25 vs. NY Giants … 1:00 pm
Sunday, October 2 vs. San Francisco … 1:00 pm
Sunday, October 30 vs. Dallas … 8:20 pm
Monday, November 7 vs. Chicago … 8:30 pm
Sunday, November 13 vs. Arizona … 1:00 pm
Sunday, November 27 vs. New England … 4:15 pm*
Sunday, December 18 vs. NY Jets … 4:15 pm*
Sunday, January 1 vs. Washington … 1:00 pm*

*Game time subject to change due to flex scheduling

Mikell to St. Louis, Bradley, Akers done in Philly

Safety Quintin Mikell agreed to a four-year deal, $28 million dollar deal with the St. Louis Rams on Tuesday and will be just one of many Eagles free agents to depart in the coming days.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer the Eagles have decided to let all of their unrestricted free agents walks. That list includes ch linebacker Stewart Bradley, punter Sav Rocca, backup running back Jerome Harrison and Pro Bowl kicker David Akers.

Others expected to depart include cornerback Dimitri Patterson, guards Nick Cole, Max Jean-Gilles and Reggie Wells, and linebackers Ernie Sims, Omar Gaither and Akeem Jordan.

Eagles sign RB Devine

The Eagles have agreed to terms with rookie free agent RB Noel Devine.

Devine (5-8, 170) completed a four-year career at West Virginia with 4,315 rushing yards and 29 touchdowns on 728 carries (5.9 average) and 98 receptions for 710 yards and two touchdowns. Devine also averaged 21.6 yards on 34 kickoff returns in his career. As such, he finished as the school’s all-time leader in all-purpose yardage with 5,761. He was also the fourth player in Big East Conference history to top the 4,000-yard rushing plateau joining fellow Mountaineers Avon Cobourne and Pat White as well as Rutgers’ Ray Rice.

A native of Fort Myers, FL, and a product of North Fort Myers HS, Devine finished his high school career with 7,009 rushing yards and 92 touchdowns.

Eagles name Marandino assistant strength and conditioning coach.

The Eagles have named Roger Marandino assistant strength and conditioning coach.

Marandino served as Director of Strength and Conditioning at Brown University since 1995, where he oversaw 37 varsity sports. In his time at Brown, Marandino was a two-time NSCA Ivy League coach of the year and was named the NSCA national strength and conditioning professional of the year in 2000. Prior to his time at Brown, he served as the Assistant S&C coach at the University of Connecticut from 1993-95. He earned his Master’s degree in Sport Biomechanics from Connecticut and a Bachelor’s degree in Adult Fitness from Kean University. A former power-lifting competitor, Marandino has won three national championships.


WWE's Friday Night Smackdown  was taped at the Wells Fargo Center Tuesday night. Here's the results courtesy of Nick Camillo Piccone of via

- Triple H promo. Said he re signed Punk late Monday night. Christian interrupted. Made Summerslam match for Christian vs. Randy Orton for the title (No holds barred match).

- R truth came out. Triple made R-Truth vs. Orton for later. Triple H then made a Christian vs. John Morrison match. NEXT

- Backstage segment with Triple H, Teddy Long, and Zack Ryder. Hunter makes Ryder Teddy Long’s new assistant.

- John Morrison vs. Christian. Morrison took a nasty bump on the outside. Nice little match. Christian used the spear for a near fall. Christian won with the killswitch.

- Natalya, Kaitlyn and AJ vs. Alicia fox, Rosa and Tamina in a 6 diva tag match now. Heel divas win by botched scissors kick by Alicia Fox.

- Mark Henry and Big Show highlights from MITB. Then Henry highlight with Kane from last week.

- Mark Henry vs. Some jobber from Philly. Bobby Hillard i think it was. Hillard looks scared. Didn’t have the name up so don’t know spelling. Henry squashes him two minutes if that. Henry does the Yokozuna Banzai drop to the poor guy. Henry has a chair in the ring. Teddy long comes out. Sheamus comes out. Challenges Henry. Says bigger isn’t better. Sheamus slaps Henry. Gets the chair and holds Henry off as he goes crazy outside the ring. Henry leaves. Sheamus getting loud cheers. Segment ends with Sheamus sitting in ring in chair.

- New Nexus vs. The Usos for the tag titles next. Usos received little reaction coming out. New Nexus win the retain the tag team titles.

- Zack Ryder and Teddy Long backstage. Ryder makes DiBiase and Rhodes vs. Ezekiel Jackson handicap match. Long is annoyed and said we will see

- Johnny Curtis promo. Will debut next week. Had some chick in the background taking notes or something.

- Highlights from RAW.

- Matt Stryker backstage with R-Truth. Said he felt good. Cuz hes R-Truth. A good R-Truth is a bad R-Truth. The viper is gone get got

- Smack of the night! From two weeks ago. Jackson vs. DiBiase.

- Ezekiel Jackson vs. Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes in a handicap match now. Cody pins Jackson with the crossrhodes.

- Jinder Mahal promo from one of the suites. Khali says stuff. Crowd chants USA because apparently we are racists.

- Summerslam rewind. Ladder match. Hbk. Razor ramon. 1995

- RAW preview for Monday. Who is the rightful WWE champion?

- Randy Orton vs. R-Truth. Standard tv match. In the middle of the match, christian comes out on the ramp with the belt. Just surveying the scene for now. Orton fights back after getting beat up. Orton is prepping for the RKO when K-Truth slides out of the ring. Christian down to the ring R-Truth hits Orton with bottle of water outside the ring. Orton back in and spears R-Truth Orton gets a chair and hits R-Truth in the gut and back. R-Truth wins via dq. Both men outside. Orton taking apart announce table. Hits R-Truth with tv. Christian watching on ramp. Orton rkos R-Truth on the table, table doesn’t break. Orton stares at christian. Back to R-Truth. Second rko on table. Still doesn’t break. Ortons music hits. Christian on stage looking petrified clutching his title belt. Show ends.

- Dark main event is Christian vs. Randy Orton in a street fight for the title. Christian on the mic before the match starts. Tries to back peddle the match. Good mic work by him. Tries to get the crowd riled up. Christian tries to walk away, Orton gets him back in the ring. Standard back and forth stuff. Christian gets a kendo stick under the ring. Both have some offense with the kendo stick. Rhodes and DiBiase interfere. Distract Orton. Christian schoolboys Orton for the win. Both attack Orton. Orton comes back and rkos both. Rkos Christian as well. Music hits as show ends.

PUMA Introduces the Faas Lightweight Running Shoe

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Union waive GK Thorne Holder

The Philadelphia Union have waived third-string goalkeeper Thorne Holder.

A Trinidad & Tobago native, Holder joined the Union from Adelphi University on March 1.

He has yet to make his professional debut in Major League Soccer but did see action with the Union reserve team against the New York Red Bulls, D.C. United, Toronto FC, and the New England Revolution.

Holder also played 45 minutes of Philadelphia's 1-0 shutout victory over Everton in an international match at PPL Park on July 20.

Temple picked to finish third in MAC East

DETROIT – The Temple Owl football team has been selected to finish third in the East Division of the Mid-American Conference this fall. The preseason poll, determined by the league’s media contingent, was announced at the annual MAC Football Media Day on Tuesday at Ford Field.

The Miami RedHawks and the Toledo Rockets were selected to win the East and West divisions, respectfully. Both divisions were selected by the narrowest of margins, as the East Division witnessed Miami selected with the top spot with 97 total points, followed by Ohio with 96 points.  In the West Division, Toledo garnered 83 points, while Northern Illinois posted 81 points.

The RedHawks were followed by Ohio, who received eight first-place votes in the East Division preseason predictions.  Temple was picked third, followed by Kent State, Bowling Green, Buffalo, and Akron.

Temple garnered four first-place votes. The Owls returns 46 lettermen, including 13 starters, under first-year head coach Steve Addazio.

In the West, Toledo racked up eight first-place votes. Northern Illinois was picked second and earned five first place votes.  Western Michigan was third, followed by Central Michigan, Ball State, and Eastern Michigan.

Temple opens the 2011 season with cross-city rival Villanova in the third annual Mayor’s Cup, sponsored by Dunkin’ Donuts, at Lincoln Financial Field on Thursday, Sept. 1. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

Eagles rounding up rookie free agents

The Philadelphia Eagles today announced they have agreed to terms with the following nine rookie free agents:

WR Perry Baker (6-2, 175) Fairmount State

WR DeAndre Brown (6-6, 233) Southern Mississippi

RB Graig Cooper (5-10, 205) Miami (FL)

P Chas Henry (6-3, 219) Florida

QB Jerrod Johnson (6-5, 251) Texas A&M

LB Brandon Peguese (6-0, 230) Hampton

DT Cedric Thornton (6-4, 309) Southern Arkansas

WR Terrance Turner (6-2, 220) Indiana

TE Martell Webb (6-3, 276) Michigan

Perry Baker finished his career at Division II Fairmount State (West Virginia) with 1,552 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns. He led the team as a senior in 2010 with 28 receptions, 501 yards and nine scores. A native of New Smyrna Beach, FL, Baker has NFL bloodlines that include his older brother, Dallas, who played three seasons with the Steelers, and his uncle, Wes Chandler, who played 11 seasons in the NFL and was named to four Pro Bowls.

DeAndre Brown amassed 133 receptions for 2,186 yards and 24 touchdowns in his three-year career at Southern Mississippi. He finished his career ranked fifth in school history in receptions, third in receiving yards and second in touchdown catches, and earned Conference USA Freshman of the Year honors in 2008. A native of Ocean Springs, Mississippi, Brown attended Ocean Springs HS where he was a Parade All-America selection.

Graig Cooper wrapped up his collegiate career at Miami (FL) ranked third in school history in all-purpose yardage (3,864), and fifth in rushing yards (2,387), leading the team in rushing in three consecutive years from 2007-09. He played in 46 games (21 starts) in his career, notching 17 total touchdowns (13 rushing, 3 receiving, 1 punt return). The Memphis, TN, native attended Melrose HS before transferring to Milford Prep as a senior, where he earned first-team all-state accolades.

A four-year letterman at Florida, Chas Henry was the 2010 recipient of the Ray Guy Award, given to the nation’s top punter. He was a consensus first-team All-America selection after finishing the year with a 45.1-yard average on 50 punts, while also serving as the team’s kicker for part of the season. For his career, Henry punted 165 times for 7,090 yards (43.0 avg.), with a long of 75. A native of Dallas, GA, Henry attended East Paulding High School in Dallas.

Jerrod Johnson finished his collegiate career holding 24 Texas A&M school records including total offense (8,888 yards), passing yards (8,011), completions (650) and touchdown passes (67). He also holds two Big 12 and A&M records for passes without an interception in one season (225 in 2009) and an overall streak without an interception (242 from 2008-09). His best season came as a junior in 2009, when he set five school single-season records in passing yards (3,579), completions (296), attempts (497), touchdowns (30), and total offense (4,085 yards). In addition, Johnson ranked second on the team that season with eight rushing touchdowns. The Houston, TX, native attended Humble HS, where he was named the Houston Touchdown Club Offensive Player of the Year as a senior.

Brandon Peguese transferred from South Florida to Hampton following his freshman season and went on to register 179 tackles and 18 sacks in three seasons with the Pirates. He was a second-team All-MEAC performer in 2009 after leading the conference with 7.5 sacks. As a senior in 2010, he posted career highs with 85 tackles and eight sacks. A native of Greensboro, NC, Peguese attended Grimsley High School, where he was an all-state defensive end.

A two-year starter at Division II Southern Arkansas, Cedric Thornton earned first-team All-America honors as a junior after leading the team with 80 tackles and 8.5 sacks. That season, he also led the nation with 23 tackles for a loss while forcing two fumbles and blocking two kicks. As a senior in 2010, he ranked third on the team with 53 tackles, including 13 tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks and one forced fumble. The Star City, AR, native attended Star City HS.

Terrance Turner closed out his career at Indiana with 143 receptions for 1,436 yards and four touchdowns. His 67 receptions as a senior are the fourth-best single-season total ever by a Hoosiers receiver. A native of Auburn Hills, Michigan, Turner attended West Bloomfield High School, where he was an all-state receiver.

A four-year letterman at Michigan, Martell Webb appeared in 37 career games on special teams and as a reserve tight end, catching nine passes for 111 yards and two touchdowns. The Pontiac, MI, native attended Northern HS, garnering all-state honorable mention accolades as a senior.

Eagles brass reacts to new CBA

Jeffrey Lurie:

“I’m glad we were able to reach this agreement without interrupting the season for our fans. In the end, both sides gave enough to get the deal done, and we can all go back to work feeling good about what was accomplished.  A 10-year contract is unprecedented in professional sports.  By the time this contract ends, the NFL and its player will have been able to play 33 uninterrupted seasons of football.

 “The contract protects and strengthens the elements that have driven the popularity of the NFL to unprecedented heights. The continued equalization of player spending guarantees every market, large and small, an equal chance of competitive success. The draft and free agency remain important parts of the game. And there’s recognition of the importance of former players, who gave so much to the game, and who deserve our increased support.

“I want to thank our fans for their patience. Now we can get back to football – and that’s what we are all really looking forward to.”

Joe Banner:

“Like our fans, we’ve been waiting for this situation to end since the day it started. Now the challenge is getting back to the games with as little disruption as possible.

“Even during the lockout, we kept working through the summer knowing we had to be ready for this moment – to go from zero to 100 mph overnight.  That includes giving our fans a worthwhile preseason experience.  So we kept working at it, even when we weren’t sure we would have time for training camp at all. We owe thanks to many people at Lehigh and on our Eagles staff for making that possible.

“Now we have to be quick learners, and quick to act. We’re studying the new contract hard so we can make good football decisions fast.  We want to be on top of the nuances of this new agreement so we can help our ballclub compete.”

Andy Reid:

“I’m happy that the NFL and its players can get back doing what they love to do. The coaches can get back to coaching. Players can get back to playing and we’re all pleased about that.

 “As far as our team, we look forward to reconvening in the near future and we are looking forward to holding training camp once again on the campus of Lehigh University. We understand that we have a lot of work ahead of us in order to get ready for the season opener at St. Louis and I’m excited to get started on that as soon as we can.”

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Real Madrid holds on to beat Union

By John McMullen

PHILADELPHIA (The Phanatic Magazine) - Soccer royalty invaded Philadelphia Saturday night as part of the 2011 Herbalife World Football Challenge when Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid edged the Philadelphia Union, 2-1, in front of 57,305 fans at a steamy Lincoln Financial Field.

Fresh off a midweek friendly win over Everton, the Union defense wilted early against Real Madrid but the club settled down and gave one of the world's best teams quite a scare before succumbing.

In the third minute of the contest, Real Madrid's Alvaro Arbeola lifted a long pass to Jose Maria Callejon that Union defender Sheanon Williams should have been able to clear but he fanned allowing Callejon to beat MLS All-Star Faryd Mondragon on the far side.

Carlos Valdes was the culprit for Philadelphia in the 11th minute, failing to stay in front of Karin Benzema, who got loose for a crossing pass that Mesut Ozil easily deposited past Mondragon.

The Union settled down from there and generated a number of scoring chances on  Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas, one of the best in the world.

Perhaps Philadelphia's best chance in the first half came in the 28th minute, just seconds after Mondragon stoned Callejon to keep the Union in the contest. Midfielder Justin Mapp sent a crossing pass the through the box and a pinching Williams fanned while trying to put it home.

Carlos Ruiz got loose on a breakaway in the 32nd minute after a Real Madrid turnover but his initial touch was far too heavy enabling Casillas to race out and clear.

A minute later, Sebastien Le Toux took a nice chip set from Keon Daniel but served it wide past the goal mouth.

The Union were never able to solve Casillas but did finally cash in during the 80th minute against backup netminder Tomas Mejias. Danny Mwanaga found Michael Farfan in the box, who floated a beautiful touch shot over Mejias' head to ignite the crowd and cut the deficit in half.

Roger Torres nearly evened things for Philadelphia in the 90th minute when his left-footed laser from distance found the top of the post on the outside.

The Union then had one final chance in stoppage time but Jack McInerney's sweeping shot was stopped by a diving Mejias as Real Madrid held on for the 2-1 win.

This was the second straight year that Philadelphia has hosted a high-profile international team at the Linc. The Union lost to Manchester United last July, 1-0.

Meanwhile, this was the third stop for Real Madrid on its tour of the States during the Herbalife World Football Challenge. The team beat the Los Angeles Galaxy, 4-1, last Saturday before 56,211 at the Los Angeles Coliseum, and then took a 3-0 win over Chivas Guadalajara on Wednesday at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego before 38,211.

Real Madrid's two biggest attractions, 26-year-old Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, perhaps the best soccer player in the world, and Kaka did not play until the second half. Ronaldo has a pair of scoring chances but was unable to convert.

Philadelphia, which earned five out of a possible nine points on its recent three-game road trip to put themselves atop the Eastern table, will get back to work in MLS by hosting Colorado on July 29.

The Union's 31 points this season have already equaled their total from all of last year and the club is now 3-2 in international matches, winning three at PPL Park against Celtic F.C., Chivas de Guadalajara and Everton, while losing two at the Linc to Man U. and now Real Madrid.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Video: Dana White talks about UFC 133 in Philly

Union - Real Madrid ticket sales reach 50,000

Ticket sales for the Philadelphia Union’s World Football Challenge match against Real Madrid at Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday have eclipsed 50,000.

Seats are still available for the 9:00 p.m. contest at,,, and by phone at 800-745-3000.

"We are at 50,000 tickets sold and significantly more than the other two markets Real Madrid has played in on this US tour,” said Union CEO & Operating Partner Nick Sakiewicz. “It’s no surprise because we have the best soccer fans in the country, evident by our success at PPL Park for Union games.

“A big credit goes to the Eagles, Jeffrey Lurie and Joe Banner for their tremendous efforts in bringing this game to Lincoln Financial Field,” Sakiewicz added. “It’s great for the all the fans and for the Tri-State area."

After beating English Premier League club Everton, 1-0, on Wednesday, Real Madrid will represent the fifth international match in the Union’s brief history. The Major League Soccer Eastern Conference leaders are 3-1-0, beating Everton, Celtic FC and Chivas Guadalajara, while losing to Manchester United 1-0 at Lincoln Financial Field last year.

Voted by FIFA as the best European club of the 20th century, Real Madrid earned 4-1 and 3-0 victories in their first two matches of the 2011 Herbalife World Football Challenge, against the LA Galaxy and Chivas Guadalajara, respectively. Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo has scored four goals in his club’s first two games of the tournament, including all three against Chivas.

Founded in 1902, Real Madrid C.F. have won a record nine UEFA Champions Leagues and 31 La Liga titles, 18 Spanish Copa del Rey Cups, eight Spanish Super Cups, two UEFA Cups, one UEFA Supercup and three Intercontinental Cups. Real Madrid defeated their archrival F.C. Barcelona 1-0 in overtime to win their 18th Copa del Rey on April 20.

Managed by 2010 FIFA World Coach of the Year José Mourinho, Madrid boasts some of the world’s top stars, including reigning FIFA World Cup champions Iker Casillas, Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos, as well as internationals Ronaldo, Kaká, Mesut Özil, Karim Benzema and Emmanuel Adebayor.

Ronaldo recently became just the second player in Spanish football history to score 50 goals in a season when he accomplished the feat against Villarreal on May 14, 2011. With 38 of his 51 goals coming in league play, he only needs one more to break the all-time La Liga record, which he currently shares with Hugo Sánchez and Telmo Zarra.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Union tops Everton F.C. on late Hernandez goal

By John McMullen

CHESTER (The Phanatic Magazine) - Halfway through the regular season, the first place Philadelphia Union took a break from MLS play to top English Premier League side Everton 1-0 in the first of two international friendlies this week.

Christian Hernandez, the Union’s U-17/18 Academy Player of the Year,  finally solved Toffees goalkeeper Jan Mucha, the starter for Slovakia in the 2010 World Cup and backup for U.S. National Team goalkeeper Tim Howard with Everton, in the 88th minute to send a sellout crowd of 18,582 at a steamy PPL Park home happy.

Philadelphia, which gave veteran stars Faryd Mondragon, Danny Califf, Sebastien Le Toux and Carlos Ruiz the night off, dictated the pace for much of the night against Liverpool-based Everton, which was preparing for the upcoming EPL season that begins in late August.

The Toffees, a seventh place finisher a year ago, may not have the cachet of a Manchester United but they have competed in the top division in English football for a record 108 seasons and have won the League Championship nine times. So any way you slice it, the Union have to feel good about outplaying a
team from the vaunted EPL.

The 17-year-old Hernandez's marker came after a frenzied sequence stemming from a Jack Pfeffer shot that was denied. Everton failed to clear the box and a scramble ensued before Hernandez, who entered the game in the 71st minute, registered his first goal with the big club.

Philadelphia recorded 18 shots in the game to just seven for Everton. Four of the Union's attempts were on net while the Toffees were unable to test rookie goalkeeper Zac MacMath, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2011 MLD SuperDraft that has had to sit behind Mondragon, an All-Star, all season.

Third-string 'keeper Thorne Holder stymied Everton's only shot on target, a Ross Barkley shot that was deflected on goal by Apostalas Vellios in the 74th minute.

Roger Torres blasted six shots for Philly and Danny Mwanga had three and nearly found the net on a few occasions, including a blast from 10 yards out that went just wide in the 72nd minute.

Philadelphia, which earned five out of a possible nine points on its recent three-game road trip concluding with last Sunday's emphatic 3-0 whitewash at New England to put themselves atop the Eastern table, will next face Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid at Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday before getting back to work in MLS by hosting Colorado on July 29.

The Union's 31 points have already equaled their total from all of last season and the club is now 3-0 in international matches at PPL Park, adding this win to a pair of triumphs over Celtic F.C. and Chivas de Guadalajara last season.

Everton, meanwhile, will finish its short United States tour by visiting D.C. United on Saturday.

Scoring summary:

PHI - Christian Hernandez (Unassisted) 87'

Misconduct Summary:

EVE -- John Heitinga (caution; Reckless Tackle) 83 PHI -- Christian Hernandez (caution; Shirt Removal) 88 EVE -- John Heitinga (ejection; Serious Foul Play) 83 PHI -- Roger Torres (caution; Reckless Foul) 93+

Philadelphia Union -- Zac MacMath (Thorne Holder 46); Sheanon Williams (Ryan Richter 46), Carlos Valdes (Juan Diego Gonzalez 46), Stefani Miglioranzi, Gabriel Farfan (Zach Pfeffer 63); Justin Mapp (Michael Farfan 46), Amobi Okugo, Roger Torres, Keon Daniel (Christian Hernandez 70); Jack McInerney (Jimmy McLaughlin 78), Danny Mwanga

Substitutes Not Used: None

Everton Football Club -- Jan Mucha, Phil Neville, Leighton Baines, John Heitinga, Phil Jagielka, Seamus Coleman, Diniyar Bilyaletdinov (Ross Barkley 64), Magaye Gueye (Jack Rodwell 46), Mikel Arteta (Sylvain Distin 46), Jermaine Beckford (Apostolos Vellios 46), Cahill Tim (Conor McAleny 78)

Substitutes Not Used: Adam Davies, Eric Dier, Ibou Touray, J. Johns

Referee: Jorge Gonzalez
Referee's Assistants: Adam Wienckowski
4th Official: Eric Boria

Weather: Cloudy, 99 degrees

Attendance: 18,582

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Phillies activate Victorino

The Phillies have activated All-Star centerfielder Shane Victorino off the 15-day disabled list and optioned infielder Pete Orr to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Victorino had been out with a thumb injury and was 4-for-8 during a two-game rehab stint with Double-A Reading.

For the season, Victorino is hitting .303 with nine home runs and 24 RBI.

Kolb likely headed to Arizona

The Eagles will look to move Kevin Kolb quickly after the lockout ends and Arizona is still looking like his liekly destination.

The Birds are expected to get a starting caliber cornerback in return, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, along with a draft pick that will likely be tied to Kolb's production in the desert but forget about a first or second rounder -- that's not happening.

Kolb, who was drafted by the Eagles in 2007 as Donovan McNabb's eventual successor, was a guest on the Dan Patrick Show this morning with guest host Howard Eskin.

 "I think most people can connect the dots now, I hope," Kolb said on the show. "Arizona would be a great place. I've obviously envisioned myself there."

Flyers sign three, reach contract limit

The Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday reached the maximum 50-contract limit after signing three players.

The club re-signed restricted free-agent forward Jon Kalinski to a one-year contract, brought in minor-league goaltender Jason Bacashihua on a one-year deal, and inked fourth-round draft pick Marcel Noebels to an entry-level deal.

Sixers to open season in Toronto

The NBA today released its complete game schedule and broadcast schedules of ABC, TNT, ESPN, NBA TV, and NBA on ESPN Radio for the 2011-12 season, in the event that the NBA is able to reach a new collective bargaining agreement with the NBPA in a timely fashion.

The  Sixers will tip-off the 2011-12 regular season north of the border against the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday, November 2 and will make their home debut at the Wells Fargo Center on Friday, November 4 vs. Minnesota at 7 p.m.

Fans have a variety of ticket options available to them, including five different 10-game plans to help accommodate everyone’s schedule and personal preferences.  Each package offers a unique blend of games and there are plans available for as low as $99.  For more information, visit SIXERS.COM or call 215-339-7676.

The 2011-12 home schedule features several fan- and family-friendly dates, including 18 Friday night dates, four Saturday night games, a special 2 p.m. tip-off against the Portland Trail Blazers on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (Monday, January 16) and two Sunday games with 6 p.m. starts (December 11 vs. Memphis and March 4 vs. Utah).

Three home games will air nationally on ESPN (Wednesday, November 9 vs. Houston, Friday, December 16 vs. Atlanta and Wednesday, March 21 vs. New York) and the Sixers game at Atlanta on Thursday, November 24 will be televised by TNT.  An additional seven games are slated to appear on NBATV.

The Sixers will have three homestands of at least five games, highlighted by six-straight over a nine-game span beginning Wednesday, January 25 vs. Indiana and ending Friday, February 3 vs. the L.A. Clippers.  During that stretch, the team will have back-to-back home games on Friday, January 27 and Saturday, January 28.  The last time the Sixers played consecutive home games was in late January of 2009.

All totaled, the Sixers will play 18 sets of back-to-back games in 2011-12, down from 21 in 2010-11.  However, seven of the 18 back-to-backs this season occur over a 27-day span from March 13 through April 8.  The team will play just three back-to-backs prior to the start of the New Year.

The Sixers have just one road trip longer than three games, but it will last NINE games from December 18 through January 4 as the team makes way for Disney on Ice presents Dare to Dream, which takes over the Wells Fargo Center during that timeframe with a multitude of showtimes to choose from. 

At the conclusion of the nine-game road trip, the Sixers will have completed 20 of their 41 road games and will proceed to play 22 of their next 31 games at home from January 6 through March 9.  Twelve of the final 20 games of the season will be on the road, including the regular season finale on Wednesday, April 18 at Miami.

Additionally, the Sixers will face four Eastern Conference teams from outside the Atlantic Division only three times: Chicago (2 home, 1 road), Milwaukee (1 home, 2 road), Orlando (1 home, 2 road) and Washington (2 home, one road).

The Big Game plan, which has seating options for as low as $170, offers fans that chance to see 10 of the most anticipated home games of the season (all games listed below are at 7 p.m.):

-    Minnesota on Friday, November 4 (Home Opener)

-    New York on Saturday, November 26

-    Atlanta on Friday, December 16

-    Oklahoma City on Friday, January 20

-    L.A. Lakers on Monday, February 6

-    Boston on Friday, February 10

-    Dallas on Friday, February 17

-    Miami on Friday, March 16

-    Orlando on Saturday, April 7

-    Chicago on Friday, April 13 (Home Finale)

Information regarding the Sixers on-sale date for individual tickets, as well as the team’s complete television and radio schedule for the 2011-12 season, will be released at a future date.