Akeem Spence was bummed. He was looking for a new NFL home after being released by the Miami Dolphins late last month in a salary-cap move. It was Monday after the NFL’s opening weekend. Spence knew the Eagles had lost a starter Sunday -- Malik Jackson, at defensive tackle, Spence’s position.
“I went to work out. … I’d seen what happened the day before. I’m just like – ‘I didn’t even get a CALL, man.’ It just so happened, around 3 or 4, I’m taking my clothes to the cleaners, I see my agent called me," Spence said Wednesday after his first Eagles practice, wearing No. 66. "He asked me, how would I like the opportunity to be on a Super Bowl contender? I said, ‘Who wouldn’t?’ ”
Monday night, Spence was on a flight to Philadelphia. Tuesday morning, he was working out. Tuesday evening, he had a one-year contract with the Eagles.
Like most defensive linemen who come here, Spence said he is excited about Jim Schwartz’s aggressive scheme up front. This year’s Dolphins scheme for the D-tackles was “more so squeezing blocks, keeping guys off our linebackers,” he said.
Schwartz wants all of his defensive linemen to get into the backfield and disrupt. Eagles defensive assistant Matt Burke was the Miami defensive coordinator last season.
“That’s what we did in Detroit, and last year with Coach Burke down in Miami – wide-nine, D-tackles penetrating, getting into the backfield. It’s the perfect fit for me,” Spence said. “I couldn’t ask for nothin’ better.”
Spence kept emphasizing how he feels his new organization is “first class.” The Dolphins, who dropped their opener to the Ravens, 59-10, have been accused of preparing to tank the 2019 season to get a high draft pick in 2020.
Asked about his friends still playing for Miami, Spence said: “I feel bad for ‘em. … Those guys don’t have any control over what’s going on. … It’s one of those things, man, you shake your head on.”
Spence, 27, was a fourth-round pick of the Bucs in 2013. He went to Detroit as a free agent in 2017, then was traded to Miami last year. Asked what he knows about his new NFL city, Spence showed he keeps up with viral social media.
“This is a sports town. You can’t wear Redskins or Cowboys gear anywhere in the city, man, or you might get mauled,” he said.
Eagles rookie running back Miles Sanders would have had his first NFL touchdown in his first NFL game last Sunday, except fellow rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside was called for holding on the play.
If you watched the replay, though, what happened was that Josh Norman, Washington’s veteran corner, saw he wasn’t going to get off Arcega-Whiteside’s arms-extended block and threw himself backward, arms flailing, Premier League style.
Arcega-Whiteside said his coaches agreed he had been wronged, and he said they told him the officials’ review of the game noted that it was an erroneous call.
“I hate that it was Miles’ first touchdown. I hate even more that it was me” whose penalty negated the score, Arcega-Whiteside said.