LOCKER ROOM UNREST; Why KEARSE?
Most recently the players still haven't gotten over the way safety Mike Lewis was finessed out of town last year.
To recap, Lewis didn't take the Eagles' modest offer to extend his contract before last season. The contract he signed with the 49ers suggested he was worth much more.
At any rate when the Eagles' defense struggled early, Lewis was removed from the starting lineup instead of then middle linebacker Jeremiah Trotter, the other option according to a source close to the situation. The Eagles then asked Lewis to play weak side linebacker, which he considered just to get back on the field but respectfully declined, according to the source.
In the case of Kearse, his production is down slightly this year. With 3 1/2 sacks, he's still third on a team and just 1/2 sack behind Juqua Thomas, his replacement.
Kearse is a pass rusher, Thomas more of a hustle type guy who also plays the run.
Defensive coordinator Jim Johnson said the Eagles haven't gotten the opposition into enough third-and-longs to really cut loose the pass rush, which is how Kearse makes his living.
The players see that as a Catch-22 for Kearse; he can't do what he does best because the defense doesn't do what it's supposed to do best.
And last but certainly not least, there are players that think the Eagles benched Kearse just to pave the way to dump his pricey contract and play with a less expensive guy.
The latter, any player will tell you, doesn't win championships.