Eagles coach Doug Pederson met with reporters Saturday morning for the final time before Monday night’s game against Washington, and, not surprisingly, the Kansas City Chiefs' Friday night release of running back Kareem Hunt was a hot topic. Hunt, the NFL’s fifth-leading rusher, with 824 yards on 181 carries, and seven rushing touchdowns, was released after TMZ published video of an incident last February that the Chiefs said contradicted what Hunt told team officials at the time.
The Hunt controversy arose just as the furor was starting to die down over Washington’s claiming of 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster on waivers, after the 49ers parted with Foster over a domestic violence incident. Foster has been placed on the Reserve/Commissioner Exempt list, meaning he is unavailable to play for the Redskins. Hunt was placed on the same list Friday evening, just before the Chiefs released him.
“I’m not going to get into all the specifics of the incidents. ... Obviously, there’s no place for this kind of behavior. ... It’s just unfortunate. It’s something that you hope doesn’t happen. ... You just hate it for everybody involved. It’s not good,” Pederson said.
Pederson said he emphasizes to players that “they’re high-profile guys,” and that their behavior is scrutinized.
Pederson also was asked about the return of 35-year-old Eagles running back and returner Darren Sproles, who plans to play Monday night, after having been out since the season opener with what the Eagles have said is a hamstring injury. Sproles said Friday that he had “more than just a simple hamstring,” but he wouldn’t explain. Pederson also passed on that question Saturday, saying only that Sproles “had a setback" during his recovery.
Asked about Sproles' role against Washington, Pederson said: “You can’t just say, ‘Hey Darren, here’s the game plan, let’s go. You’re back 100 percent, you’re rocking and rolling, you’re going to get X number of touches, you’re going to return every punt, and do all that.’ I think that’s a disservice to him, and [unfair] to the rest of the guys ... I’d love to see him back there on some punt returns. I’d love to see him get in the mix on some third downs ... For him now, It’s about getting back to game speed ... the physical nature of the game, being tackled again. We’ll see.”
Sproles said after practice Saturday that everything went well. One late development Saturday that could affect his role: The Eagles listed Josh Adams as a limited practice participant, “questionable” for the game, with a hip injury. Adams is the rookie back who gained 84 yards on 22 carries last Sunday against the Giants, season highs for any Eagles back in both categories.
Pederson said defensive end Michael Bennett will play Monday, though he has sat out practice with a foot/toe injury suffered last Sunday against the Giants. Pederson said Bennett, whose 6-1/2 sacks lead the Eagles, has been “very disruptive.”
Left tackle Jason Peters also has missed practice all week attending to a personal matter. Pederson said he is “very optimistic” that Peters will play Monday night.
Defensive back Avonte Maddox, sidelined with knee and ankle injuries, said he is optimistic about playing next Sunday, when the Eagles visit Dallas. Cornerback Jalen Mills (foot/toe), has said he is close to returning, as well.