Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins has gained renown for his social justice work, as well as his play for the defending Super Bowl champions. Jenkins was asked Tuesday about the legal problems facing new teammate Michael Bennett, another outspoken player, who is facing charges related to a confrontation with security at Super Bowl LI in Houston. Bennett is alleged to have pushed an elderly, wheelchair-bound security guard.
"From the outside looking in, not necessarily knowing all the details, but just kind of using common sense, it seems like they're trying to make an example out of him," Jenkins said of Bennett, who was charged more than a year after the incident, just as his book, "Things That Make White People Uncomfortable," was being published. "But hopefully, those things will work out in his favor. He's a guy that, I was excited when we [traded for him]. Still looking forward to him being a part of this team, being part of this community, because I think he's somebody that cares. Somebody that works hard, obviously, he's a great athlete, but a great human being as well."
Jenkins, quarterback Carson Wentz, tight end Zach Ertz and middle linebacker Jordan Hicks spoke with reporters Tuesday at NovaCare, with the Eagles embarking upon their offseason conditioning program.
Jenkins, a team leader, was asked about another controversy, the arrest and subsequent release from the team of cornerback Daryl Worley, a little more than a month after Worley was acquired from Carolina for wide receiver Torrey Smith. Worley allegedly was found asleep or passed out in a car sitting in the street near the practice facility early Sunday morning. He resisted police officers who woke him, was tased, and has been charged with a half-dozen counts including carrying a concealed weapon without a permit. The Eagles, who have held off on any action involving Bennett, released Worley before he made bail Sunday evening.
"I don't really know him too much … I still haven't gotten all the details from the arrest and so forth, so it's hard for me to comment on that," Jenkins said.
Jenkins talked about the importance of putting the franchise's first-ever Super Bowl victory in the rearview mirror as work for the upcoming season begins.
"I just think it's important over the next month or so that the veterans set the pace … for what the offseason's going to be like … I think it's important, as quickly as we can, to put last season behind us, and focus on the here-and-now, what it's going to take to win with the guys that we have," he said. "I kinda know some of the pitfalls," having played on a Super Bowl champion in New Orleans as a rookie. "You can easily start believing the hype … Lose focus on the day-to-day grind," he said.
Jenkins said it was much too early to discuss the Eagles' chances of repeating. "We still don't have the entire roster," he said.
Ertz, meanwhile, spoke of moving into the role of veteran leader with the departure from the tight end room of the longest-tenured Eagle, 11-year vet Brent Celek. Ertz, who arrived in 2013 as a second-round pick, said Celek taught him how to be a professional. He also spoke of the loss of tight end Trey Burton, who signed with the Bears as a free agent, for four years and $32 million. Ertz said he was glad to see Burton's hard work rewarded.
Hicks said his recovery from Achilles' surgery was going very well, but he did not want to commit to being full-go by training camp. "It has been a very good rehab. It feels like since Day 1 I've been ahead of schedule," Hicks said.
Asked about the perception that he is injury-prone, Hicks said: "It's tough, man. I give this game everything I got … It's hard."
Hicks again mentioned that he was playing with an ankle injury for about a month before he went down with the Achilles' injury, Oct. 23 against Washington. Hicks said he feels the ankle injury contributed to the Achilles' tear.