CLEANING OUT the notebook after another routine week down at the NovaCare Complex.
It should be quite a weekend for the Watkins family.
For the first time since his sons were in Pop Warner together, Samuel Watkins III will get to see both play in person when Sammy Watkins, the Buffalo Bills' heralded receiver, steps onto Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday against Jaylen Watkins and the Eagles.
"Usually, I just go to a sports bar, where I can sit in front of two TVs," said Samuel, who watched last week's games at a Hooters near his Orlando home. "I always had to choose."
The Eagles, amazingly, enter the game with a 5-7 record and a share of first place with the Giants and Redskins in the sagging NFC East. Buffalo (6-6) is in the hunt for an AFC playoff spot, so it's not only a family reunion, but a monster game for postseason hopes.
"I want my brother to do well, but, obviously, not this week," Jaylen said.
Jaylen, a defensive back who played at the University of Florida, was a fourth-round pick of the Eagles in 2014, but failed to make the club this past summer and was released. He signed with Buffalo in September and was on the Bills' practice squad for two months. He was not active on game days.
The Eagles re-signed Jaylen from Buffalo on Nov. 27, the day after cornerback Nolan Carroll broke his ankle. Jaylen saw only three snaps Sunday against New England and likely won't see much more this week.
Though he is very close with Sammy, he knows where his loyalty lies.
"We want to get a win," Jaylen said. "I definitely help my teammates whenever I can, but he's a very, very good athlete. There's a lot of things that he does that you can't defend. I can't tell (teammates) anything about his speed. It's on film. I can't tell them anything about how physical he is or how he gets (off the line of scrimmage), because it's on film."
Sammy is about a year and a half younger than Jaylen, but left Clemson after his junior season and was in the same 2014 draft class. He was the fourth overall pick (Jaylen was 101st) and his progress has been steady. This kid will be in the Pro Bowl one day.
Sammy has shaken off an early-season ankle injury and posted three 100-yard games in his last five. He torched Kansas City two weeks ago for 158 yards and two TDs.
"He's a high level of concern for us," Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins said. "He's somebody that jumps off the tape immediately. His speed is probably the biggest threat. And their willingness to (often) throw it to him in coverage down the field . . . is something that we got to be ready to defend."
Three other Eagles have brothers in the NFL, but none has ever played against his sibling at this level. Brent Celek's brother Garrett is a tight end for San Francisco, who was recently put on injured reserve. Jason Kelce's brother Travis plays tight end for the Chiefs and Mychal Kendricks' sibling Eric is a linebacker at Minnesota.
The Buffalo Bills are named after "Buffalo" Bill Cody, a 19th-century frontiersman and noted bison hunter. Just as "Buffalo" Bill helped open up the western United States, the first Buffalo Bills franchise, which played in the All-America Football Conference, opened up pro sports in western New York, according to an essay written by a fan in the late 1940s. And how's this? "Buffalo" Bill's mom, Mary Ann Bonsell Laycock, was born somewhere in South Jersey around 1820.
In a conference call earlier in the week with reporters, Rex Ryan became somewhat wistful when asked whether this city held any significance to him.
"The way Philadelphia treated our family and my dad, it was awesome," said Ryan, who turns 53 on Sunday. "Any time my dad came back, you have no idea the smile that would come to his face. He loved Philadelphia. He identified big-time with the city, and I think the city appreciated him."
Buddy Ryan coached the Eagles from 1986-90, posting a 43-35-1 record. The legacy of his tenure was tough defenses, making fun of owner Norman Braman and going 0-3 in postseason games.
"It's unfortunate those teams could never quite be healthy by the time they hit the playoffs," said Ryan, who had just graduated Southwestern Oklahoma when Buddy took over for Marion Campbell here. "They had some special talent there, and, if they could have just been healthy, maybe they could have really done some damage.
"But you know what? He loved it there and I certainly appreciate the fans of Philadelphia and the way people treated my dad."