October 03, 2022
With his son Miles in his lap, Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni sat at the podium postgame on Sunday wearing a Roxborough High t-shirt and took a moment to reflect on what football meant to him growing up.
He talked about how he looked up to his older brothers and their friends on the football team at Southwestern Central High in Jamestown, New York, and how he would line up practice dummies and pretend he was Marcus Allen jumping over the pile.
The football field was a safe haven for him, and he was heartbroken that it wasn't for the kids at Roxborough High School.
"I have so many vivid memories about that and I just feel bad for the kids that...They don't feel safe, maybe don't feel safe going there," Sirianni said. "My heart goes out to them. My thoughts and prayers go out to them, and hopefully, they feel safe going back and playing a game that can help take us out of bad situations, not put us in bad situations."
On Tuesday, a 14-year-old was killed and four others were wounded in a shooting nearby the school's football field following a scrimmage.
When word reached the Eagles, they were at a loss.
"Yeah, I think...I just think...it's very sad," quarterback Jalen Hurts said on Wednesday, needing a long pause to collect himself. "It's sad. I was at a loss for words when I heard about it...Kids doing what they love, in a place where it's supposed to be safe. Where we say 'Go chase your dreams.' They're going out there playing football and they don't make it home...It's just very unfortunate, and I'm just praying for the families. Praying for the families, praying for change."
In his third year with the team and his second as the full-time starter, Hurts has been using his platform to bring as much awareness as he can to the city's and the country's gun violence crisis, pushing for change.
He's been at the forefront of the Eagles' "End Philly Gun Violence" campaign, and last month, visited Penn Medicine's Trauma Center to put a spotlight on the long-term effects gun violence has on its victims, their families, and communities.
Gun violence has rippling effects across physical, social, & mental health for those impacted & beyond. I met with @PennMedicine’s Trauma Team, who are on the front lines caring for victims every day. If we all educate ourselves, we can help those affected, & bring a stop to it. pic.twitter.com/Frb8i7598M— Jalen Hurts (@JalenHurts) September 15, 2022
Sadly, the latest tragedy struck that much closer to home.
Other Eagles, such as offensive tackle Lane Johnson, wide receiver A.J. Brown, and cornerback Darius Slay, tweeted and/or publicly commented on the shooting throughout the week, pleading for the violence to end.
And hours before the Eagles' win over Jacksonville, linebacker T.J. Edwards also wore a Roxborough High football jersey into Lincoln Financial Field, keeping the kids and their families close to the team's hearts:
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