The mood at practice was clearly subdued, with players peppered with questions about the trade after practice. <strong>PHILADELPHIA --</strong> Off the field, the <a href="http://www.nj.com/eagles" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Eagles</a> are a very well coached team. They rarely rock the boat through the media or take shots at anyone, whether it be another team or their own.
On Saturday, however, the players couldn’t hide their disappointment in the team’s decision to trade away receiver Jordan Matthews.
“I’ve seen a lot of guys come and go,” tight end Zach Ertz said. “But none that I was closer to than Jordan. It wasn’t easy for any of us.”
The Eagles moved Matthews to Buffalo for cornerback Ronald Darby on Friday, addressing a position of need, but also trading away a player in Matthews that was arguably the most popular in the locker room.
“It was emotional,” Ertz said. “We lost a brother…he’s a brother for life to me.”
One player who seemed particularly upset about the decision was the team’s franchise quarterback, Carson Wentz.
“It’s tough. There is the personal side of things and the football side of things. The football side, you have to trust what they are doing upstairs,” Wentz said. “On the personal side, it’s tough. It’s someone that was one of my best friends. Seeing him yesterday, it was tough on him too.”
Although he said he respected the decision, it sounds like Wentz let executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman know he didn’t like it.
“I spoke with Howie shortly before it was news. He told me is was already done,” Wentz said. “He obviously knew how I felt with Jordan being one of my best friends. On the personal side its tough. He knew that, he was prepared for that and I told him that.”
The mood at practice was clearly subdued, with players peppered with questions about the trade after practice.
Speaking after the two-hour session, head coach Doug Pederson said he understood the emotion, but also made it clear he was ready to move on — and the players should be too.
“It’s like anything we do in life. The next person steps up and here we go,” Pederson said. “We can sit and have poor attitudes and all that, but at the same time we are happy for both parties and we are moving forward.”
Although Pederson might expect his team to move on, it is clear that is going to take some time.
While players said they were excited for the addition of Darby, it is obvious the loss of Matthews is going to have an impact on the locker room, and perhaps the player who will be impacted the most is also their most important.
“There is no other way to put it,” Wentz said. “It is tough personally.”