March 29, 2018
When recently acquired defensive end Michael Bennett was indicted on "injury to the elderly" charges last Friday, it caught the Philadelphia Eagles by surprise.
For now, however, the Eagles don't appear to regret their decision to trade for him, and seem steadfastly in Bennett's corner.
Speaking at the NFL Owners Meeting in Orlando this week, while he noted that he couldn't discuss specifics of an on-going legal matter, Howie Roseman made multiple mentions of assumed innocence in regard to Bennett's case.
"I think we’re in a great country, and in this country, people are presumed innocent and I think we need to be fair about that in all these matters," Roseman said. "I don’t think it’s fair in any situation to not give people the right to present their side. Our overriding philosophy is that people are innocent until proven guilty."
Roseman also made sure to note the myriad ways the Eagles gather personality information on players before they add them to the roster.
"When we bring a player into Philadelphia, we do a lot of background on that player, and we feel like we have the best security director in the National Football League," he said. "We’ve talked about (head of security) Dom DiSandro a lot. We also speak to players. We speak to people who were with this person. We do a lot of background on people. For us, fit is very important, because fit was obviously a big reason why we won last year."
Jeffrey Lurie echoed those sentiments during his media session in Orlando.
"Our due diligence is very, very good," Lurie said. "You guys probably know our head of security, Dom DiSandro, one of the best in the business. The leg work we do is very complete, usually, and Michael has a great reputation even walking around here, just talking to Dan Quinn, and some other people, like Gus Bradley."
Quinn and Bradley both coached Bennett in Seattle.
"A lot of what you do, and this starts with Coach Pederson, is we give our players ownership," Roseman explained. "We talk to our players about players we’re going to bring in, whether that’s Mike Bennett, or that’s Michael Wallace, so we did that with a lot of our players, players who played with him, players who have been around him, and what we found out is that he’s a good teammate. They like playing with him. Some of our players have been with him in the Pro Bowl. Some of our players have trained with him. We rely on information like that, and obviously he came to our facility and we had a chance to sit down with him and talk to him.
"Again, we have relationships with teams. When we make trades, we’re very transparent about players that we trade to other teams, good and bad. It’s the same thing that goes on with this league. We’re dealing with these same teams. It’s not like we’re dealing with 150 teams. We’re dealing with the same people over and over again. I think that’s one of the good things about the fraternity of the National Football League."
In other words, if there was any thought that the Eagles were suddenly going to release Michael Bennett, think again.
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