When given the chance to throw former teammate Jay Cutler under the bus, Alshon Jeffery passed.
Jeffery, who signed a one-year “prove it” contract with the Philadelphia Eagles when free agency opened, made an appearance on ESPN’s First Take and was handed an opportunity to thrash Cutler publicly by host Stephen A. Smith. However, Jeffery took the high road and cited the numerous injuries suffered by the Chicago Bears in 2016 for the team’s shortcomings in a 3-13 season.
“I don’t think that had a huge impact on anything,” Jeffery told First Take’s hosts. “I think things happen in the game of football, like injuries or players here and there. I think last year we had the most injuries in the league.”
The Bears had 19 players end their season on injured reserve, including starters such as Cutler (plus fellow quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Connor Shaw), tight end Zach Miller, guard Kyle Long, center Hroniss Grasu, as well as receivers Marquess Wilson and Kevin White.
Jeffery, who had his own injury issues in previous seasons with the Bears, was relatively healthy in 2016 — but still missed four games due to a PED suspension. He can make up to $14 million in Philadelphia, where he will be catching passes from Carson Wentz with Torrey Smith on the other side of the field to keep defenses honest. However, only $8 million is guaranteed.
The former Pro Bowl receiver didn’t mince words when it came to his role with the Eagles, telling the panel, “I believe I’m the No. 1 wide receiver. I’m not throwing shade at anyone. I’m just confident in myself.”
Jeffery has set lofty goals for 2017, adding that his job was to play well enough so that Wentz wins MVP.
Best of luck, Mr. Jeffery.