Eagles coach Doug Pederson seemed very pleased to announce Tuesday that every Eagle was at the NovaCare Complex for mandatory minicamp, which runs through Thursday.
Safety Malcolm Jenkins, offensive tackles Jason Peters and Lane Johnson, and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery skipped optional OTAs this spring, Jenkins because he wants a contract upgrade.
“I saw him [Monday], saw him this morning,” Pederson said when asked about Jenkins, the 31-year-old leader of the Eagles’ secondary. “He’s in great spirits and he’s out there. Expect him to go through the drills and see where he’s at. ... He never once said he was holding out" from mandatory work.
Later Jenkins said he thought he had outplayed the contract he signed two years ago, but he understands it’s a business.
Pederson said it’s “huge” that everyone was present for the final gathering of the team before training camp, which will start around July 25, though official dates have not been announced.
“It’s a credit to these players. ... It’s huge for these guys to wrap up this offseason together. I think this is the most important time of the offseason, really. This is when your team is together, and it’s a crucial time. It’s short, but, at the same time, it’s where we kind of build and continue building the kind of bonds and relationships that are going to carry us into the season.
“Even though maybe not all the guys will practice" because of injury, "just to have them all here this week, that’s exciting. The message that I can send later in the week as we depart and go on into the summer will carry over into training camp and resonate with the guys.”
Pederson said he will hold second-round pick Miles Sanders out of this week’s work as the running back’s hamstring heals.
The coach said he was especially glad to get the potential “lingering distraction” of quarterback Carson Wentz’s contract extension eliminated so that “I don’t have to stand up here and answer questions over and over and over again, to get it behind us now. ... He and I came into this league together [in 2016], a rookie quarterback and a rookie head coach, we’re sort of married to this deal, too.”
The Eagles drafted wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside this spring in the second round, giving them a jump-ball-savvy wideout who seems similar to Jeffery. Jeffery didn’t seem ruffled by this when he spoke with reporters Tuesday. Next year, the team could save about $9 million by jettisoning Jeffery.
Arcega-Whiteside, 22, grew up in South Carolina, about a two-hour drive northwest of Jeffery, 29, who was a University of South Carolina star. Arcega-Whiteside said he grew up following Jeffery’s career.
″He’s going to do some great things for us," Jeffery said of the rookie. “All of us guys from South Carolina, we pull for each other.”