It was all fun and games when Kamu Grugier-Hill said on Wednesday that the Dallas Cowboys were a bunch of chokers then receiver Shelton Gibson added to the lightheartedness when he put on a Grugier-Hill jersey, pulled a hat down low just above his eyes and walked through the locker room the very next day pretending to be the Eagles linebacker.
The ploy caught a few reporters off guard and they flocked toward Gibson thinking it was Grugier-Hill.
Head coach Doug Pederson wasn’t amused by any of it, however.
Pederson said on Friday that he pulled Grugier-Hill aside and had a talk with him about his venomous words.
“First of all, the Philadelphia Eagles, myself, we have a ton of respect for the Cowboys,” said Pederson. “It has nothing to do with that, we have a ton of respect for (Cowboys head) coach (Jason) Garrett. He and I actually were in the league together at the same time, so we played against each other when he was with Dallas and I was with Green Bay, so we go back a ways.
“It's unfortunate that the comments were made. I talk to the team a lot about how we don't need to post anything that can be used on other teams’ website or bulletin board. It's unfortunate that happened. We still have to go play. They have to play. It's going to be a good football game.”
Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott was asked what his thoughts were on Grugier-Hill’s comments.
He responded by saying, “who?”
“You know, coach Garrett has a great saying, and I don’t know where he got it from, but winners worry about winning and losers worry about winners,” Prescott told the Dallas Morning News. “We’re focused on ourselves in this locker room about what we need to do to get better in each and every phase of this game to be ready for this week. We’re not worried about he says, she says.”
Grugier-Hill took over the team’s kicking duties in last year’s game in Dallas when an injury felled Jake Elliott during the game. Grugier-Hill had a couple touchbacks in a 37-9 toasting of the Cowboys.
The linebacker is also taking some heat for having missed an easy pick-six in the first meeting between the team’s this season. It was a poorly thrown pass by Prescott in the flat that Grugier-Hill, playing with a cast on his left hand to protect a broken thumb, clumsily dropped.
Grugier-Hill did have an interception on Oct. 11 against Eli Manning and the New York Giants that he returned inside the New York 20-yard line to set up the Eagles’ first score in what became a rout.
Nevertheless, Grugier-Hill didn’t need to stoke the fire anymore for this game than it already has, considering first place in the NFC East is on the line.
“Anymore I don't think much is bulletin board material,” said Pederson. “So much social media that's posted and guys can see stuff instantly. Back in the day, articles were cut out and actually pinned on a bulletin board for teams to see. I can remember my early days in Green Bay, back before all the social media stuff was on fire, but now everything is instant.
“Listen, guys understand. They know what type of game this is, and it just comes down to us versus them and vice versa and back and forth. We have to just do our jobs and focus in on one play and play for 60 minutes.”
NOTES: There is still some uncertainty surrounding whether or not some of the Eagles’ injured players will be available Sunday.
Pederson said that he expected defensive lineman Michael Bennett and cornerback Rasul Douglas to practice on Friday. Rookie corner Avonte Maddox, Pederson said, is getting close to returning while cornerback Jalen Mills and linebacker Jordan Hicks are still a ways away.
As for defensive tackle Tim Jernigan, who never played last week due to back spasms, Pederson said the spasms still have not gone away.
“We're making sure it's calmed down before we put him back on the field,” said the coach. We have (Friday), (Saturday), and we'll see where he's at the end of the next couple days.”
Defensive end Derek Barnett, on Injured Reserve since early in the season with a shoulder injury, is back in Nashville to be with his family in the wake of his brother’s tragic death. David Barnett, 33, was killed in a head-on-collision with a drunk driver.
“It just puts everything into perspective, everything we do into perspective,” said Pederson. “That's a lot more important than, like I said, winning a game.”