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September 20, 2014 | By John N. Mitchell, Inquirer Staff Writer
Nate D. Smith always exchanged text messages with his mother, so when he received one reminding him to wish his brother a happy birthday he thought little of it. "That's my mom," said Smith, Temple's starting middle linebacker and the brother of former Eagles tight end L.J. Smith. "I had just spent Mother's Day with her. " What Smith did not know at that time last May was that the text would be the last he would ever get from his mother. Later that week, at the age of 56, Kathy Ann Smith, who had been ill, died suddenly.
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September 19, 2014 | BY LES BOWEN, Daily News Staff Writer bowenl@phillynews.com
IT SEEMS likely that Marcus Smith's first snaps in the Eagles' defense will come at inside linebacker, quite possibly Sunday, when the Birds host the Washington Redskins. Smith was drafted last spring in the first round, 26th overall, because the team liked his potential as a pass rusher. But the former quarterback's lack of an extensive background in that area has been a problem, probably a bigger problem than the brain trust figured on when it decided to take him on as a project.
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September 14, 2014 | By Bob Brookover, Inquirer Columnist
Sometimes you have to shed more than the blockers when you arrive in the NFL as a first-round draft pick being paid huge money to pursue the quarterback. Sometimes you have to blast through the hurtful rhetoric, too. Injury-prone , underachiever and, worst of all, bust have been attached to Brandon Graham's name. He heard them all. "The hardest part was hearing the fans saying what they say and hearing the media and I wasn't able to defend myself because I was hurt," the pass-rushing outside linebacker said Wednesday after the Eagles finished their first day of practice in preparation for Monday night's game against Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts.
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September 2, 2014 | By Zach Berman, Inquirer Staff Writer
Travis Long's No. 57 jersey was not going to be displayed in Philadelphia sporting goods stores this season, but there was considerable optimism about the linebacker in the team's headquarters this summer. So when it was learned that Long tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the final preseason game, it left the Eagles without a player who was expected to be a valuable reserve. It also made two backup linebackers even more noteworthy: inside linebacker Casey Matthews, who continues to survive, and first-round pick Marcus Smith, whose development requires patience.
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August 26, 2014 | BY AARON CARTER, Daily News Staff Writer cartera@phillynews.com, 215-854-5814
ZAIRE "BAM" Anderson certainly has come a long way. From Harrison Street in East Frankford to Riverside (Calif.) Community College all the way to Lincoln, Neb. Now, the 5-11, 220-pound senior outside linebacker has his eyes set on a starting spot this season for the Cornhuskers. Not bad for a young man who didn't even start playing linebacker until his senior year at Frankford (2009). In fact, Anderson was a first-team All-Public League coaches' selection at running back that season.
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August 20, 2014 | BY JAKE KAPLAN, Daily News Staff Writer kaplanj@phillynews.com
BRANDON BELL is still figuring out the category of linebacker into which he best fits. He could be suited for the strong side, but could also very well have a future on the weak side or even in the middle. As of the start of Penn State's fall practices 2 weeks ago, that was still to be determined. What's certain is that Bell, a true sophomore from Mays Landing, N.J., has a chance to start for the Nittany Lions this season on either side of middle linebacker and fifth-year senior Mike Hull.
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August 15, 2014 | STAFF REPORTS
DAVE LLOYD, the Eagles' starting middle linebacker from 1963 to 1970, a rugged, respected player on some mostly bad football teams, died Saturday at his home in Gladewater, Texas. He was 77. Lloyd was drafted out of the University of Georgia by the Cleveland Browns in the fourth round in 1959. He played three seasons with the Browns and one with the Detroit Lions before coming to the Eagles in 1963. He wore No. 52 and started every game for the Eagles at middle linebacker from 1963 into the 1970 season, intercepting 14 passes and recovering 10 fumbles.
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August 6, 2014 | BY AARON CARTER, Daily News Staff Writer cartera@phillynews.com
WITH Kevin Greene working with outside linebackers in Eagles camp this week, the Birds' pass rushers have been gathering trade tips from one of the league's all-time bests. And, technical tips aside, perhaps the most interesting piece of advice was what Greene seemed to say was the foundation for beating offensive linemen and corralling quarterbacks. "Always establish the violent, physical nature of the game up front from the get-go," Greene told reporters after the Eagles concluded their workout yesterday at the NovaCare Complex.
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August 1, 2014 | By Zach Berman, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Eagles did not add a single inside linebacker this offseason, a curious decision for a position in which the starters were already overworked and the quality of the reserves remained an unknown. DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks are entrenched as the two starters. Najee Goode was the only other inside linebacker who took significant snaps last season. The next month will be important for the coaching staff and front office to learn what they have at the only nonspecialist spot without a new face.
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July 16, 2014 | BY TYLER R. TYNES, Daily News Staff Writer tynest@phillynews.com
THE CUBICLES in Sean Burke's office were quiet as the day was ending. You could faintly hear the middle-class Americans punching out after a long day's work, one by one. And as Burke was finishing what was going to be another boring day, in a dreary summer, he heard something. Bzzzzt. Bzzzt. His phone vibrated at his desk at 4:30 p.m. It was the Boston College football team. Burke careened from his workspace and minutes later, he was seen gleefully leaving the building. The Eagles had offered the walk-on junior linebacker-turned-fullback a scholarship.
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