phillypressbox

“View from the Philly Pressbox” – The Eagles and the Safety Position

In Philadelphia Eagles on March 1, 2014 at 11:15 am

Eagles New Logo

The signings of Jason Peters, Jason Kelce, Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin this week have solidified the offense for the 1014 season, and beyond, but what about the defense? It’s obvious that the Birds need help in the secondary and particularly at the safety position. If you’re the Eagles do you sign higher priced free agents and draft the best available position regardless of position or attempt to build the safety position through the draft?

Following is a look at the top rated safeties on the free agent market:

Jairus Byrd, S, Buffalo Bills: Byrd is the best safety on the market. The Bills will do everything they can to keep him. Byrd and Earl Thomas are the game’s top cover safeties.

T.J. Ward, S, Cleveland Browns: Ward is a bit of a reach. He’s better against the run than the pass.

Malcolm Jenkins, S, New Orleans Saints: It wasn’t long ago that Jenkins was viewed as one of the best safeties in the NFL.

Donte Whitner, S, San Francisco 49ers: Whitner is an 8 year NFL veteran. Can he fill the needs or the Eagles?

Louis Delmas, S, Detroit Lions: Delmas would come with a reputation as being a big hitter.

Antoine Bethea, S, Indianapolis Colts: Bethea is a solid cover guy. The Colts will try to resign him. If he hits the market he will be costly.

The draft is thin at the safety position with only two projected 1st round picks. Here they are:

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix – Alabama. CLinton-Dix is a solid player that will be gone before the Eagles pick.

Calvin Pryor – Louisville. Pryor’s stock has been all over the board. He has been projected as a mid to late 1st rounder all the way down to a mid 2nd round pick.

So Eagles fans here’s your chance to vote on what way the Eagles should go, sign the best free agent they can, select the best available safety in the draft or sit tight with what they presently have.

Philly Pressbox is proud of our association with the Kisses for Kyle Foundation. Please check out their link at http://www.shop.com/kissesforkyle  Every purchase you make helps families battling childhood cancer in the Delaware Valley.

Kisses for Kyle

BRIAN DAWKINS AUTOGRAPH SIGNING

In Philadelphia Eagles on February 25, 2014 at 11:24 pm

Brian Dawkins

Former Philadelphia Eagle and future Hall of Famer BRIAN DAWKINS will be signing autographs March 8. The Philly Pressbox is offering pre-sales.

Following are the available signed Eagles items and price list:

Full Size Replica Helmet - $175

Mini Helmet - $90

Logo Football - $90

16×20 - $80

11×14 - $75

8×10 - $70

Full size Pro Line Helmet - $325

Shipping cost will vary from $15 for the full size helmets, $7 for footballs and mini helmets and $3 for photos. Our deadline is Friday 2/28 so we need to know before then. You don’t have a lot of time to decide.

All items will come with a Certificate of Authenticity and hologram from the promoter.

Payments will be by PayPal or check. No Credit Cards. Checks will be held until they clear.

If you have any questions please leave them in the “comments” area below and we will respond quickly.

“UPLIFTING ATHLETES” – The Charity for Rare Diseases

In College Football, Penn State Football on February 8, 2014 at 8:17 pm

Uplifting Athletes

In July 2013, as a result of a routine physical, it was determined that I had a 1″ cancerous tumor on my left kidney. Two weeks later, August 13, I had surgery to remove the tumor. When I woke up I learned that they had to remove my entire left kidney, my adrenal gland, my lymph node and a part of a rib. The tumor was imbedded and the cancer had started to spread. I had a 7″ incision being held together by 16 staples. Like any other person that has ever been told they have cancer it scares you to death. I started researching and reading everything I could about it. I learned that kidney cancer is considered a “rare disease”because it affects fewer than 200,000 Americans. As a result, there’s little funding for research and few options for treatment. It also doesn’t respond to chemotherapy and radiation so your choices are simple, you remove it or you don’t and take the chance it doesn’t spread.

During my research I came across and article about a man named Don Shirley. Mr. Shirley’s life activities mirrored mine in many ways. He was a high school coach, as was I. He had no symptoms or family history of cancer, nor did I. Mr Shirley first encountered kidney cancer in 1993 before finally passing away when the cancer came back in 2005, at the age of 55, I would turn 55, one month after my surgery. I also learned that Mr. Shirley had a son, Scott, that was a member of my favorite college football team, the Penn State Nittany Lions. He had graduated in December 2004 from Penn State with a master’s degree in engineering. I had coached at the Penn State Summer Football Camps for 12 summers and was a season ticket holder. I found the story of Scott Shirley very interesting as well and needed to know more about him and the charity that he started called “Uplifting Athletes” that raises money for nearly 7000 rare diseases.

I found contact information and reached out to Scott We’ve talked several times and communicate regularly through social media. the more we talked the more intrigued I became and the more I wanted to share his story. We recently sat down and did a question and answer session.

PHILLY PRESSBOX (PP): Can you tell us about yourself and your background?
SCOTT SHIRLEY (SS):
I am a husband and father who helps college football student-athletes learn how to leverage the position they are in to help other by using their natural talents to the best of their ability. During my time at Penn State I was a wide receiver on the football team (1999-2003) and a catcher on the baseball team (2001). The degrees that I’ve earned include a BS in Engineering and Masters of Engineering from Penn State and I am an Executive Scholar from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. Currently I serve as the Executive Director of Uplifting Athletes Inc and CEO of PledgePlatform LLC. Community involvement includes the Board of Directors for AmeriChoice Federal Credit Union and the Board of Governors for the Maxwell Football Club. In my free time I play semi-pro baseball for the Mechanicsburg Cardinals.

PP: How did Uplifting Athletes come about?
SS: Our effort started in 2003 when my father was diagnosed with kidney cancer and my family learned that little could be done because it was a rare disease – meaning it affected fewer than 200,000 Americans and lacked financial incentive to make and market new treatments. When my teammate/roommate Damone Jones (OL from Philadephia, PA) learned of our misfortune, he suggested that we do something since we were in a position to make a difference. Our team rallied around the idea of leveraging a summer strength and conditioning competition into a fund raising event called Lift For Life® by opening it up to our fans and the media. We soon realized that the benefits of this new organization were far greater than we had imagined.
The football student-athletes who were involved with leading this effort essentially created internship experiences for ourselves by reaching out to industry professional mentors. The benefits of off campus summer internships are well documented but are often void from the college experience of football student-athletes due to our year round commitment to the sport. We also realized that our teammates were actively engaged because this was something the team had ownership over, not a community service project that was planned by someone else. Finally, we learned that kidney cancer was one of more than 7,000 rare diseases (such as cystic fibrosis, Hodgkins disease or charcot-marie-tooth disease), affecting more than 30-million Americans and that we were making a big difference.
Since 2003, the Penn State Football chapter has raised more than $800,000 to benefit kidney cancer; its events have attracted thousands of fans and media and connected patients from across the country. Eight new treatments have been brought to market during this time, compared with only one in the previous 12 years. We have inspired 20 other teams to start chapters of Uplifting Athletes, too, creating a coordinated effort to elevate the rare disease cause.

PP: What is the mission of Uplifting Athletes?
SS: Our mission is to align college football with rare diseases and raise them as a national priority through advocacy, education, outreach and research. Our vision is to create an environment that empowers people to take action against rare diseases and inspires the medical community to find cures.

PP: How many football programs are presently involved?
SS: Our network of chapters includes more than 20 college football teams representing every major conference including half of the B1G Ten and ACC. Each chapter is run by current football student-athletes and adopts a rare disease that’s had an impact on their team. Collectively we have raised more $2MM to support rare disease research and have created special moments like “Jack’s Run” at Nebraska (the 7-year-old pediatric brain cancer patient who scored a 69-yard touchdown during their spring game). See the video clip below. Over the past six years we’ve graduated more than 200 Uplifting Athletes “Lettermen.” Their professions range from the NFL to Wall Street.

PP: You played for Coach Paterno at Penn State, would you care to comment on him, what happened to his legacy and his importance to you as a former PSU student athlete?
SS: Coach Paterno’s legacy is his former players. Our actions will continue to shape the memory of him and expand the impact that he had. Time and patience will heal the wounds from the Sandusky scandal.
Coach Paterno built a program on values that brought me and my friends together to serve as the catalyst, Uplifting Athletes.

PP: How can a person help that may just want to donate to this cause?
SS: Donations can be made through our website at http://www.upliftingathletes.org and directed towards a chapter/rare disease or you can make a general donation towards our mission.

PP: Do you have any events or recognitions now that the college football season is over?

SS: Our annual Gridiron Gala (www.upliftingathletes.org/gridirongala) is coming up on Saturday, March 8th. Tickets are available and it is open to the public. It is expected to be an outstanding event!!
Also, we recently conducted an online vote for the 2014 Rare Disease Champion. We are proud to recognize Nebraska’s C.J. Zimmerer. The trophy will be presented at the Maxwell Football Club’s annual award dinner.

The more I thought about Uplifting Athletes and how they operate the more impressed I became. Student athletes passing the torch from class-to-class and growing the chapters. How cool is that to be able to leave your legacy at your college by being the chairman for the year of such a beneficial fundraiser?

In closing, Scott Shirley has committed his life to making a difference through Uplifting Athletes. We commend him for his efforts in starting and growing such a great cause.

You to can make a difference by educating yourself about rare diseases and, if you are able, donating to the cause at http://www.upliftingathletes.org.

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