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For Eagles fan Solomon Jones, it's 2013 all over again

If he can’t like the team he has, he’ll have the team he likes

I HAVE an admission to make; one I never thought I'd utter as a 47-year-old man. Please bear in mind that this is not easy for me, because I used to scoff at others for doing the very thing I'm going to share with you. But as difficult as this might be, I need to tell the truth about what I've become, and I need to do it before I change my mind.

Before I go there, however, I need to make one thing clear. None of this is my fault. It's all because of Chip Kelly.

Had he not cut DeSean Jackson last year, the bitterness would have never taken root. However, when you get rid of the best deep threat in the league and get nothing in return, it does something to football fans. It changes them in terrible ways.

At first, the change in me was subtle. I'd get up from the couch and walk away from Eagles games before they were over - something I'd never done before. LaVeta could tell that something was wrong, but she decided it was better to let me work things out on my own. I almost, did, too.

I went into the offseason believing that if the Eagles replaced DeSean and brought in some defensive help, they would be fine. After all, they had a top-flight receiver in Jeremy Maclin. They had LeSean McCoy, one of the league's best running backs. They had a proven quarterback in Nick Foles.

I was hopeful - optimistic, even. Then it happened.

In a bloodletting the likes of which we've never seen, Kelly cut or traded every Eagle with even a modicum of talent. He then cut the fans by replacing top NFL players with refugees from a hospital ward. Among linebacker Kiko Alonzo, quarterback Sam Bradford and running back Ryan Mathews, the new-look Eagles have more bad knees than an old-folks home.

The team that will take the field in September will be less talented and more injured than any Eagles team in recent history.

That fact changed things for me, and made me turn to something I never thought I would - Madden 2013.

That's right, dear reader. I have looked to my son's Xbox to take away the pain.

Rather than sit there on the couch, with the hurt etched onto my face, I have decided to take things into my own hands. When I want to see Michael Vick hand the ball off to LeSean McCoy, I simply turn on the television, take hold of the remote and call for a halfback dive.

When I want to see DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin on the field together, I simply dial up a pass play, unleash them against the defense, and laugh maniacally as they sprint their way to countless touchdowns.

I am - Lord help me - a gamer. And in many ways, I am ashamed.

I'm ashamed because I once envisioned men who played video games as slackers who sat in their mama's basement, clad only in a T-shirt and tighty whities. I saw them as the unwashed losers who stayed up for days at a time, their stubble-ridden faces awash in the glow of the TV screen, their bloodshot eyes fixed on the next play.

But now that Kelly has traded or cut every player who mattered to me, I see my fellow gamers in a whole new light.

They are the men who refuse to let the Kellys of the world steal their joy. They are the men who refuse to limit their running backs and wide receivers to flesh and blood. They are the men for whom championships are an ever-present possibility.

So, yes, the Eagles will win this year, and they'll do it with Shady McCoy, Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson. I'm even going to get them to the Super Bowl.

Just hand me that Xbox remote.