Philadelphia Sixers star Allen Iverson once said, “Practice, we’re talking about practice. Not a game, practice.”
Essentially that’s what the preseason games are, a practice to get ready for the season. Are players giving it their all, you would hope as the preseason wraps us. But the players aren’t going out there to get hurt.
After practicing with the Baltimore Ravens all week, did tempers flare, I’m sure they did. But does that give any player the go-ahead to put a cheap shot on another player? Absolutely not.
Before Saturday’s game, Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford said he wanted to get hit in the just to see how he would respond.
But that hit is not what he had in mind, playing his first game in 364 days.
“He hit him low and tried to hit him around the knees,” said Jason Peters, of Terrell Suggs’ grab at Bradford’s twice-surgically repaired knee and twist to the ground. “He’s that type of player who is dirty and will take shots at the quarterback.”
Fans were nervous as the first-year Eagles Quarterback took the hit and then let out an enormous sigh of relief when Bradford popped back up without any sort of hesitation.
“I was a little upset,” Bradford said after the Eagles demolished the Ravens 40-17, in the final game in South Philly for a month. “I’m not sure I could probably repeat what I said to him. But it’s part of the game and I’m sure it’s not the last time that something like that’s going to happen this year. But hopefully it doesn’t.”
After the game, Bradford was asked if he thought Suggs was intentionally going for his knee.
“You would have to ask him, but I think that’s what he was trying to do,” he said. “But it’s part of the game and you just have to move on.”
After the game, Peters went off on Suggs. Peters is no stranger to defending his quarterback. Last season against the Redskins, nose-tackle Chris Baker put a massive hit on Nick Foles, that was completely uncalled for. The hit resulted in a brawl by the Redskins bench and the ejection of both Baker and Peters, who began to get in a physical altercation with Baker, defending his quarterback.
“He’s trying to take a cheap shot at the quarterback,” Peters said. “I’m pretty sure he planned it. We practiced against them all week. I’m pretty sure he was thinking about it.”
Peters wanted to say something to Suggs after the contest, but by no surprise, Suggs ran right into the tunnel.
It is with no shock that Suggs defended his play.
“When you run the read-option, you have to know the rules,” he said. “If you want to run the read-option with your starting quarterback that’s had two knee surgeries, that’s on you. That’s not my responsibility to update you on the rule. I could’ve hit him harder on that. I didn’t. I eased up.”
Suggs was called for a personal foul and could be fined by the NFL.
Bradford said he thinks his Coach will defend him, but is glad it got the team fired up. The Eagles led 24-0 at halftime and 30-0 going into the fourth quarter.
“I’m sure Chip [Kelly] will say something to someone,” Bradford said. “It got our guys fired up, though. There’s no doubt about that. I thought we responded well after that, put together a nice drive. When things like that happen in the game, you can’t dwell on them. You’ve got to just keep going. I was excited, I was nervous, there were a lot of emotions, but I think most of all I was just excited. It was a great feeling. Hearing the crowd, getting back out there, playing football again.
“It’s been a long time, and there’s been a lot of work that’s gone into it, and to get out there tonight and actually get to play again, it was just a lot of fun. I didn’t think about my knee once I went out there, and I think that was big for me. Just to take some shots, feel the speed of the game, feel the rush — we try to simulate that in practice but it’s really hard when I’m off limits — so it was good to just feel the speed of the game tonight.”
There is no doubt after that contest that Bradford earned some respect in the Eagles locker room after the way he just a few big hits, including Sluggs’, and just shook it off.
“He’s a tough guy,” Peters said. “He stood right back up and took another hit and then took us all the way down the field and we scored. That says a lot for Sam.”