Eagles Notebook: Eagles flocking to Twitter

Todd Herremans caused a small stir with some of his tweets.
Todd Herremans caused a small stir with some of his tweets.
Posted: August 12, 2010

BETHLEHEM - The website Twitter-Athletes.com lists 24 tweeting Birds - that is, two dozen Eagles with active Twitter accounts, from A.Q. Shipley (@aqshipley) and his 452 followers to DeSean Jackson (@deseanjackson10), with his 29,146, as of about 8:30 last night.

Lots of their output tends to be a bit dry. Earnest fullback Leonard Weaver (@LeonardWeaver) let us know he was "about to attend a special teams meeting" recently, for example. Other players like to have a little fun with their 140 characters, perhaps too much fun, as left guard Todd Herremans discovered Tuesday when he lamented the "barrage of homosexuality" in the third season of the HBO series "True Blood." Herremans (@toddherremans) wound up taking down the tweet and apologizing, twice.

"After speaking with Eagles management, I realize that my tweet earlier was insensitive and tasteless, and for this, I deeply apologize," Herremans typed. Later, he added, "It was not my intention to offend or hurt anyone."

Herremans' observations often are less clunky, such as when he posted a photo of Winston Justice and his solar backpack (which recharges Justice's iPod), Herremans pretending that this was how "Sir Winston" recharges himself between workouts.

Herremans declined to discuss his tweets yesterday.

Increasingly, athletes seem to see Twitter and other social media, such as Facebook, as a way to interact with fans and break down barriers, without having your dinner interrupted to pose for a photo.

"Ultimately, the fans are why we have football. If it wasn't for the fans, we wouldn't have football," tight end Brent Celek said recently - before the Herremans dustup. "They want more, so you can give 'em a little bit more without being raunchy with it or giving up secrets that you're not allowed to give up. And the fans respect that, and they like it, so I think it's always good."

Celek (@BrentCelek) said he is not trying to bypass conventional media, necessarily, but he does like the idea of direct access.

"Fans have their certain questions that are not the questions you guys ask, and they want 'em answered. If I can answer them, I will," he said.

Celek, who had 8,273 followers as of last night, likes to entertain his troops with contests. Currently, he is choosing 11 fans to participate in a fantasy football league with him. He chose one participant recently by announcing a berth would go to "whoever posts a pic of themselves wearing my jersey and standing next to a stop sign . . . good luck haha."

Celek and middle linebacker Stewart Bradley are in a Twitter contest for charity. Bradley (@StewBradley), with 4,680 followers, said details of the contest will be revealed soon.

"At first, we just thought, 'It's new. Let's hop on it,' " Bradley said. "Then you realize that you represent yourself and your team, and you've got to understand that everything you put on there is public knowledge. Once you're aware of that, I think it can be used in positive ways."

Bradley and Celek said fans typically want to know the usual things - how the team will do, how the player feels. Many just want to indicate support.

"I try to have fun with it, keep it clean, so people of all ages can participate," Celek said. "It's hard to answer all [the questions]. I try to, but let's be honest, my main goal here is football right now. Anytime I feel like I have a little bit of downtime and I can mess around on it, I will."

Of course, it isn't all about the fans. Players sometimes trash-tweet one another; defensive tackle Trevor Laws (@TrevorLaws) heralded his victory over Bradley in the FIFA soccer video game last night, complete with photo.

Tweety birds

Here, according to Twitter-Athletes.com, are some of the two dozen Eagles who use Twitter to keep in touch with their fans, along with their Twitter addresses:

MLB Stewart Bradley: @StewBradley

TE Brent Celek: @BrentCelek

DE Brandon Graham: BGraham54

CB: Macho Harris: @MachoHarris

WR DeSean Jackson: @deseanjackson10

C Jamaal Jackson: @CenterStage67

DT Trevor Laws: @TrevorLaws

WR Jeremy Maclin: @jmac_18

RB LeSean McCoy: @cutondime

C A.Q. Shipley: @aqshipley

QB Michael Vick: @MichaelVickZone

RB Leonard Weaver: @LeonardWeaver

Tight spot

Cornelius Ingram, back at practice after that brief knee/calf swelling thing, is on track to play tomorrow night against Jacksonville, getting in a game for the first time since Jan. 1, 2008, when his Florida Gators lost to Michigan in the Capital One Bowl, two ACL repairs ago. Ingram is excited.

Though Brent Celek is the starter, Ingram and rookie Clay Harbor seem to offer a lot of potential as backups. But offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg indicated Tuesday he would like to see a veteran in the mix, something more substantive than the swap of Martin Rucker for Nate Lawrie this week.

"I think we're fine, but he's been doing this a long time," Ingram said. "We're definitely young at the position, even with Brent. Whatever happens, happens." *

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