Prior to the 2014, the Philadelphia Eagles were on the wrong side of the NFL handing out suspensions. Rising star right tackle Lane Johnson was suspended the first four games of this past regular season due to failing a drug test for taking PEDs. Luckily it looks like this year the Eagles have avoided any of their own players being suspended…so far. Let’s keep our fingers crossed, there’s still quite a bit of time left this offseason.
That being said, the Eagles are actually the beneficiaries of some of this year’s suspensions around the league. Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy is already appealing a 10-game suspension due to a domestic violence incident. While that suspension will likely be reduced, Hardy will still miss the Cowboys match-up with the Eagles during Week 2 of the upcoming season. But if the original suspension is somehow upheld, Hardy could miss the second meeting between the division rivals during Week 9 as well.
Yet that isn’t all in terms of key players the Eagles will avoid due to suspensions during the upcoming season. This past week the NFL handed out four more suspensions due to failed drug test including two key players the Eagles will face in 2015. Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain was suspended the first four games of the season, ruling him out for the Cowboys’ Week 2 meeting in Philadelphia. McClain was a key part of Dallas’ defense this past season, racking up 12 total tackles between the team’s two games against the Eagles in 2014.
New York Jets star defensive linemen Sheldon Richardson was also suspended the first four games of the 2015 season due to a failed drug test. Therefore he will miss the Jets’ game against the Eagles during Week 3 of the regular season. Not having to deal with Richardson is a major relief for the Eagles, although they’ll still have to deal with both Muhammad Wilkerson and rookie Leonard Williams up front. Considering the Eagles have enough questions regarding their own defensive line heading into the upcoming season, not having to go up against a player such as Richardson will obviously help.
Although it’s sad to see players deal with drug issues and things like that off the field, they should know better. At the same time, it’s nice to see the Eagles reaping the benefits of another player’s failure to correspond with relatively easy rules, considering they’re promised millions of dollars.
But that’s another topic and discussion for another day. For now let’s just enjoy the fact that the Eagles may avoid some of the best opposing defensive players their opponents have to start the upcoming season.
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