Eagles cornerback Ellis Hobbs will need neck surgery and his season is over. The team placed him on injured reserve.
Also, cornerback Joselio Hanson has been suspended 4 weeks for ingesting a diuretic before last season's NFC Championship Game, according to sports attorney David Cornwell.
"Joselio did not use steroids or any other substance that would enhance his performance," Cornwell said. Diruetics are banned because of their supposed ability to mask steroid use.
See the bottom of this post for a complete statement from Cornwell.
The league also released a statement, confirming the four-game suspension for "violating the NFL policy on performance enhancing substances." Hanson will be eligible to return to the active roster on Monday, Dec. 7 following the Eagles game at Atlanta. He would be able to play Dec. 13 against the Giants. He cannot practice with the team before then.
The upshot would be that after starters Sheldon Brown and Asante Samuel, the Eagles will have no corner on the field this Sunday at San Diego who has played significant minutes this season.
Brown ridiculed the notion that Hanson would need to mask steroid use with a diruetic.
"Look at Jose, man," Brown said. Hanson is listed at 5-9, 185. "I don't get it. This is a guy, to me, who does everything the right way. He's sick (about the suspension). I'm sick for him, too ... this is one of the good guys on our team."
Brown added that it "seems like they're trying to make an example" of Hanson, which loosely fits with what Cornwell alleges in the letter printed below.
An Eagles spokesman said the team would have no comment on the suspension.
Hobbs was injured during the Eagles' loss to the Cowboys Sunday. He saw a spinal surgeon Monday, had a followup MRI exam and underwent further testing.
“They think they can go in and fix it where he’d have an opportunity to continue his career,"” Reid said. "“He’s done a nice job for us. It’s too bad for number one, Ellis, who wanted to continue to do well and he was rotating in. We’ll move on and the other guys will have an opportunity to step up and play.”
The Eagles have signed cornerback Ramzee Robinson, who was in this week for a workout. Robinson was a seventh-round pick of the Detroit Lions in 2007. He was the famed "Mr. Irrelevant" that year as the last player chosen. The third-year player from Alabama, appeared in a total of 19 games in 2007 and 2008. He was cut at the end of training camp in September. Robinson will wear No. 28.
The team also has promoted corner Jack Ikegwuonu, a fourth-round pick in 2008, from the practice squad. Ikgwuonu, once considered a top prospect, has been working to strengthen his leg after ACL surgery just before the draft.
Hobbs' biggest role with the Eagles has been as a return man. Quintin Demps would be next in line, although Demps left Sunday's game against Dallas with an ankle sprain and did not practice yesterday. Reid said Jeremy Maclin and Macho Harris could also play a role there.
* In other injury news, Brian Westbrook did not practice today because of his ankle problems, but should practice tomorrow, Reid said. Westbrook was held out,. as usual, on a day when the Eagles practiced on the harder indoor surface because of the weather, Reid said.
Linebacker Akeem Jordan (hyperextended knee), left tackle Jason Peters (sprained ankle), linebacker Moise Fokou (flu), and fullback Leonard Weaver (ankle) did not practice. Mike Patterson (toe) was listed as a limited participant.
Chris Gocong, however, has returned. The linebacker suffered quad and hamstring injuries on the same leg against the Giants and did not play against Dallas. If Jordan cannot play Sunday against the Chargers, the Eagles will have used five different trios of starting linebackers in nine games. The Eagles likely would mix and match on the weakside if Jordan is not available.
* Wide receiver DeSean Jackson has fired his agent, DeBartolo Sports, and will hire Drew Rosenhaus, ESPN 950’s Brian Seltzer is reporting. Asked about the change in agents, Reid said, “I’m not going to get into all that.”
After practice, Jackson also declined to speak. "I'm not talking about anything today," Jackson said. "I'm just focusing on football."
Neither team president Joe Banner nor Rosenhaus has responded to requests for comment. The timing is curious, in that next Tuesday is the deadline for tucking money into this year's cap from reworked contracts, but the way the CBA works these days, you have to be in your third year to rework your deal, anyway, as Sam from igglesblog reminded us.
* Donovan McNabb was asked about the Eagles' recent record in close games. The Birds are 1-8-1 in their last 10 games decided by six points or less. "It's an unfortunate situation," but "there's nothing I can do about the past."
* Former Eagles offensive tackle Jon Runyan is considering a run for Congress, according to a number of reports. If he enters, Runyan would run as a Republican and challenge freshman U.S. Rep. John Adler (D-Cherry Hill). The district covers Camden, Burlington and Ocean Counties. More here.
* And over on the West Coast, the Chargers began preparations for the Eagles, with six players not participating in practice, including tight end Antonio Gates (foot), running back LaDainian Tomlinson (hip), defensive tackle Ogemdi Nwagbuo (ankle). Shawne Merriman was listed with a foot issue but was a full participant.
* You can still vote in our Eagles Midseason Report poll, by clicking here. Results later on Eagletarian.
Cornwell's statement on Joselio Hanson:
Before last year’s NFC Championship Game, Joselio Hanson felt “bloated” after eating Chinese food and ingested a pill that turned out to be a diuretic. The urine specimen that Joselio provided after the game tested positive for a diuretic. Joselio did not use steroids or any other substance that would enhance his performance.
By agreement, Joselio’s appeal under the NFL’s steroid policy was delayed pending a negotiated resolution of the StarCaps matter. Throughout the Spring and Summer, the discussions among the parties included changing discipline that would be imposed for a first positive test for diuretics. This consideration was guided by the near-universal recognition that diuretics are rarely used to mask steroid use. It is noteworthy that the World Anti-Doping Agency recently implemented amendments that eviscerate the misplaced presumption about diuretics embedded in the NFL’s steroid policy and reduce discipline for diuretics to include warnings and, where appropriate, suspension.
Subsequent to the recent judicial and administrative rulings in the StarCaps matter, Joselio’s appeal was scheduled for October 27, 2009. The hearing confirmed that the NFLPA and NFL Management Council have exchanged proposals regarding diuretics, with each party proposing substantial reductions in the discipline to be imposed for the first positive test for diuretics. Under the current competing proposals, no player would be suspended for four (4) games for the first positive test for diuretics.
Recognizing that treatment of diuretics under the NFL steroid policy likely will be changed, we urged the NFL’s hearing officer to withhold a decision in Joselio’s case pending an agreement between the NFLPA and the NFLMC regarding diuretics. We also argued that the accommodation allowing the “StarCaps players” to continue playing supported allowing Joselio to continue playing as well. Our appeal to fairness was rejected and Joselio was notified yesterday that he is suspended for four (4) games, effective immediately.
We are disappointed. Joselio accepts his responsibilities as an NFL player. Nonetheless, we suspect that he is a casualty of the looming labor war in the NFL. Here’s hoping that he is the last.