Eagles coach Doug Pederson said he was “looking forward to going down” to Washington to visit the White House, but did not want to delve into details about the rescinded invitation or how many representatives the team planned on sending.
“We did something last season that was very special,” Pederson said. “A milestone here in the city of Philadelphia, and I was looking forward to going down and being recognized as world champions.”
That was as expansive as Pederson was willing to be Wednesday. He did not want to engage in a back-and-forth with the White House, nor did he want to offer the Eagles’ version of the story. The White House accused the Eagles of a “political stunt,” giving 81 names to the White House last week and changing their delegation at the “11th hour.”
“I’m not discussing; it’s over,” Pederson said. “What you’ve seen and what you’ve heard is enough. I’m not going to sit here and discuss it. We have two OTA practices and a mandatory camp next week.”
Pederson added that he eliminates the possibility for a distraction by focusing on football. He acknowledged that the Eagles still could have gone to Washington for other activities, but “we’re all football around here.”
“We … wanted to get work in and get our work done,” Pederson said.
He did not have a problem with taking questions instead of owner Jeffrey Lurie, saying the Eagles have a united front. He also did not think fans needed an explanation or clarity from the team. The White House said the vast majority of Eagles “decided to abandon their fans.”
“We have the greatest fans in the National Football League,” Pederson said. “When we had that parade back in February, our true fans, they’re beside us. We’re beside them. Love everything about the people that come and watch us and support us. I can’t say enough good things for what our fans have done for us.”
Pederson did not want to speak about other teams or other leagues and how they handle the White House visit. He said only that he was looking forward to visiting the White House. But now his focus is on offseason practices.
“It’s over. It’s behind us. We’re moving on,” Pederson said.