More Sports:

November 02, 2016

Eagles' Huff on arrest: 'What professional athlete doesn't own a gun?'

Eagles NFL
082316JoshHuff Julio Cortez/AP

Josh Huff will play against the Giants despite being arrested on Tuesday morning.

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Josh Huff spoke to the media for the first time on Wednesday, a day after he was arrested on the Walt Whitman Bridge and charged with possession of an illegal firearm and two ounces of marijuana.

“I made a terrible decision yesterday," said Huff. "I can’t get into details about anything but I’ve already apologized to my teammates, to Mr. Lurie, to the entire organization for my actions yesterday.”

What he wasn't quite ready to apologize for, however, was the fact that he owned a gun in the first place.

Huff, who was carrying a gun that was properly licensed in Texas but not in New Jersey, a state which has no reciprocity and requires separate registration for any firearms carried within its borders. Huff offered up the 9mm handgun to the officer almost immediately, probably because he didn't realize, at least at the time, that he was breaking the law.

“I’m a professional athlete. What professional athlete doesn’t own a gun?" he said. "I have a license and my job is to protect myself at all costs. I know we have security here, but I have to protect myself.”

But has there ever been a reason for Huff to feel like his safety was in jeopardy?

"Yeah [I have]," he said, adding that while it wasn't during his time in Philadelphia, he still felt more comfortable knowing he had protection. He also said that he wasn't coming directly from the NovaCare Complex and did not have the gun in his possession while at the Eagles facility.

The Houston native may have been stretching the truth slightly when he said insinuated that every professional athlete owns a gun, but according to defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, an avid hunter and fellow gun owner, it's not that far from the truth.

"It depends on the situation," Cox said when asked if he's ever felt the need to carry to carry a gun for protection. "I think most professional athletes do own a firearm. It could be for protection, to protect your family. Or just other things, like me. I'm a big hunter, so I love my firearms."

Even head coach Doug Pederson is a gun owner, although he falls more into the Cox/hunting category than the Huff/protection one. And furthermore, he's not entirely sure why players would need to have them for anything other than sport.

"I have [guns]," the rookie coach said Wednesday. "I mean, I have hunting rifles and things like that. But they are registered. They have got permits for them. Again, there are league policies. There's a Philadelphia Eagles policy. Those are things that we visit every year, and we just need to continue to re-visit these things.

"I made a terrible mistake yesterday and it is what it is. Time to rebrand my image and try to give the best to my team.”

"I don't necessarily understand why they need guns outside of maybe sport hunting or whatever. But we just continue to educate our players and try to curb it the best we can."

But Huff's gun was not a hunting rifle. Far from it. And making matters worse for the 25-year-old Oregon product is that at the time of his arrest, the gun was loaded with six hollow-point bullets. 

“I knew about the NJ laws but I didn’t know a lot about them. I didn’t know enough about them, clearly," he said, adding that the hollow-points were for added protection. "But like I said, I made a terrible mistake yesterday and it is what it is. Time to rebrand my image and try to give the best to my team.”

Huff will be back out on the field Sunday when the Eagles visit the Giants at MetLife Stadium for their third divisional game in four weeks. Head coach Doug Pederson said earlier on Wednesday that Huff would remain active during the investigation and will play against New York on Sunday.

But given the fact that Huff was in possession of nearly two ounces of marijuana in addition to the firearm -- and cited for a DUI, which could mean he was high at the time -- there's a strong chance he gets a call from Roger Goodell's office about a possible suspension.

In the meantime, however, he'll remain on the Eagles active roster.

“I know that my actions were wrong and I’ll own up to it," he added. "All I can do is take it a day at a time and that’s what I’m going to do. My focus right now is on the Giants.”

Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin