The largest media contingent for an Eagles June availability in memory — with more than 75 reporters and camerapeople — descended Wednesday on a locker room that was missing most of the starters for the 40-minute media availability, the day after the team's canceled White House visit.
The main message after Wednesday's OTA work was team unity, with several players declining to say whether they had planned to attend before President Trump rescinded the invitation Monday evening. Trump's action came after the White House was told the Eagles' delegation would be much smaller than expected, fewer than 10 people total, including team chairman Jeffery Lurie and mascot Swoop.
"I think we're, like, 100 percent unified going into this week, so it's mathematically impossible to be any more unified," defensive end Chris Long said, when asked if the controversy has made the team even more unified than when it won Super Bowl LII.
The NFLPA issued a statement in support of the Eagles, but commissioner Roger Goodell did not, in the wake of the decision at a May owners meeting to fine the teams of players who protest during the national anthem this season. The protests during the anthem have become a political weapon for Trump, and he framed the Eagles' lack of enthusiasm for visiting the White House around the protest issue.
"I don't speak for the commissioner. If he doesn't want to stand up for his players, that's not really my business. I know my teammates are great men," Long said. "There's men of faith in this locker room, there's men who serve their communities, there's men who have a lot and give back to people with a lot less, and they don't have to do that at all. What the commissioner wants to do, that's not my business."
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Asked if he wished Lurie would speak out in support of his players, Long said: "What Jeffery Lurie does isn't my business. What we do is our business. We made a decision as a team … I think Jeffery has been supportive of our off-the-field stuff. At the end of the day, we're moving on, we're on to minicamp [next week]."
Asked about the statements Tuesday by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who accused the Eagles of pulling a "political stunt" and abandoning their fans, Long said, facetiously: "Who is that? I don't know who that is."
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Long said all along he wasn't going to Trump's White House; he also skipped the Patriots' visit a year ago.
Center Jason Kelce talked about how the locker room contains players from many backgrounds, and that empathy and tolerance grows from working together toward a common goal, as the Eagles did last season.
"You realize quickly, being in a locker room like this, that's you're not going to agree with everybody," Kelce said.
Kelce would not say whether he had wanted to attend Tuesday. Kelce said he didn't think the Eagles let their fans down.
Asked if it was disappointing to win the franchise's first-ever Super Bowl and not get the traditional White House visit, Kelce said: "I think it's a little bit disappointing as a country right now that we're so divided, I think that's the bigger disappointment."
Kelce said that for him, missing the visit didn't detract at all from winning the championship.
Tight end Zach Ertz said the number of Eagles attending was "up in the air" Monday when the White House canceled the trip."I don't know what I was going to do," Ertz said. "It doesn't really matter at this point."