ANAHEIM, Calif. — This is a strange week for the Eagles in many ways. Linebacker Nigel Bradham is dressing in Mike Trout’s Angel Stadium locker stall; Bradham was very interested in his first glimpse of a Major League Baseball clubhouse setup, with fewer lockers than the NFL requires, and large, leather couches set up around TVs on pillars in the middle of the room.
“It’s nice, I can see how they do things. That couch needs to be in my basement or somewhere,” Bradham said. “It’s perfect.”
Trout, the Millville, N.J. native who is Eagles’ most fervent baseball-playing fan, isn’t in California this week, but each Eagles player had a Mike Trout bobblehead in his locker stall, along with a note of welcome to Angel Stadium.
Meanwhile, Rodney McLeod and Chris Long are former Rams preparing to face their former team — sort of. McLeod and Long were St. Louis Rams, so they have no sense of the team’s California tenure.
Long, 32, has dim memories of his father, Howie, playing for the Raiders at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, site of Sunday’s game. Howie Long retired when Chris was 8.
Howie will be there when Chris makes his Coliseum debut. Fox’s NFL pregame show, for which Howie Long is an analyst, is moving from its Century City studio to the Coliseum parking lot for Sunday’s game.
“That seems like a lifetime ago that my pops was playing; I barely remember it,” Chris said. “I know what great fans L.A. can have. The Rams have brought that back. My pops will be there, so that’s cool.
“It’s been an interesting couple of weeks … I got to play my brother [Bears guard Kyle Long]. Now I can see my dad on game day … My youngest brother [Howie Jr.] works for the Raiders, so they’ll be out [to play the Eagles] Christmas Day. So I kind of checked all the boxes this year. Football can make it really hard to get together as a family; you don’t see each other a lot. Or, the schedule can dictate that we see each other. It’s been a lucky year that way.”
McLeod has fielded a lot of questions about Todd Gurley, the Rams’ transcendent running back. Gurley and McLeod were St. Louis teammates in 2015, Gurley’s rookie year, when he ran for 1,106 yards in just 13 games. McLeod was an Eagle by 2016, when Gurley dipped to 885 yards in 16 games. Now, of course, under first-year Rams coach Sean McVay, Gurley has run for 939 yards in 12 games, second in the NFL, while also catching 48 passes for 563 yards.
“He was having the same year [in 2015] that he’s having right now,” McLeod said. “Running through the line. Making explosive plays, and kind of doing it all for them, out of the backfield and catching.”
Nearby, the throng of interviewers clustered around Long was a little surprised to see him, just off the practice field, hoisting a clear plastic cup of golden liquid, with foam on top.
“This isn’t beer, by the way. It’s kombucha,” Long said. “Everybody’s drinking it. Nobody knows what it does, but everybody’s drinking it.”
Ertz limited in return
Tight end Zach Ertz progressed far enough along in the NFL concussion protocol that he was allowed to be a partial practice participant Thursday, but the team later retracted a Tweet that declared Ertz had cleared the protocol. NFL players must see an independent neurologist before final clearance, and they can’t participate in any contact work until that happens. But it seems likely Ertz will get that clearance by Sunday.
Malcolm Jenkins is one of 32 nominees for the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year award. … The Rams practiced outdoors as usual Thursday after being driven indoors by smoke from Southern California wildfires on Wednesday. There is still no indication that the fires will affect Sunday’s game. … Defensive tackle Winston Craig was signed to the practice squad after the Kansas City Chiefs signed Justin Hamilton to their active roster on Thursday.
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