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Eagles’ Isaiah Rodgers opens up on year-long suspension; what he learned, what aspects of his game changed

PHILADELPHIA — Isaiah Rodgers couldn’t help but celebrate when picking off a pass from Jalen Hurts and returning it for a touchdown during Philadelphia Eagles OTA practice. The sign was clear.

Rodgers was back on the field. His game appears back as well.Β 

“I say I’m faster,” Rodgers said with a smile. “I think that’s the one thing I can say.”

Rodgers made his presence felt during the two open practices to the media at OTAs, getting the opportunity to roll with the first-team defense at cornerback with James Bradberry missing the sessions and Darius Slay not present at Thursday practice (the practices are voluntary).Β 

The former sixth-round pick, back from a year-long suspension, had a few plays in coverage that stood out. In addition to shutting down routes, the standout play was the interception of Hurts. Rodgers had a great break on the ball when Hurts was working on targeting the middle of the field, getting the jump when Hurts released the throw and easily picking the pass off and returning the ball the other way.

The Eagles secondary had a standout day, but Rodgers made the highlight play. He may be more than just roster depth based on how the month of May is going.

“I worked on my speed this offseason,” Rodgers said. “I worked on my hands. So I think that making plays on the ball is the one thing that definitely played a factor (for me) throughout this offseason. Just building up on my speed.”Β 

Less than a year ago, Rodgers was an afterthought around the NFL. He was suspended indefinitely for violating the NFL’s gambling policy on June 29, when the Indianapolis Colts released him. The Eagles were the only team interested in Rodgers, as the cornerback admitted no other team reached out.Β 

Rodgers wasn’t sure when he was coming back, or if he was coming back. All he could do was train, as the Eagles weren’t permitted to contact him.

“I just kept my schedule as if I was still playing,” Rodgers said. “Sundays I used like a game day, did cardio and things like that. I took Tuesdays off. I still stayed with the NFL schedule and just continued to work. I continued to prepare for these moments.”

The suspension humbled Rodgers, who became a cautionary tale for players even considering gambling in team facilities. Rodgers was caught placing bets in the team facility on his own team, admitting they were for friends and family in Florida (where sports betting was illegal at the time).Β 

If it wasn’t for the Eagles signing Rodgers to a one-year, $1.01 million deal, Rodgers’ NFL career may be over. The price Rodgers paid is one he doesn’t want younger players to experience.Β 

“The league doesn’t need anybody,” Rodgers said. “Rules are rules. They there for a reason. You break them, you get your consequences. If you don’t, you continue to be great. That’s one thing that everyone should learn.

“I got to be that guy to let everyone around me know or people around the league to know that, you might want to understand those rules if you don’t want to be in my shoes.”

A mistake was made by Rodgers, one he has owned up to. His accountability is why the Eagles decided to take a chance on him.Β 

Rodgers isn’t guaranteed anything in regards to make the roster, especially in the Eagles cornerback room. That’s OK with him.Β 

“I can do whatever the team needs me,” Rodgers said. “I can play defensive end and come off the edge. I’ll do that as well. Whatever coach asks me to do, I’ll lock into my playbook and study it.”

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Author: Jeff Kerr
May 31, 2024 | 8:35 am

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