Finally, some good old-fashioned trash talk to get the juices flowing for the NFL playoffs.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery had some choice words about Chicago, the city, and his time with the Bears. Some of which was caught on video by ESPN’s Tim McManus:
“I love the city of Philadelphia. Chicago was just when I was there for work.” Alshon Jeffery on returning to Chicago. pic.twitter.com/gXfXh4TH7C
— Tim McManus (@Tim_McManus) January 2, 2019
Jeffery had the Bears-Eagles tilt in 2017 circled on his calendar in what was surely an emotional game for the ex-Bears standout. But when asked if he had emotions regarding what will be his first game back in Chicago since leaving as a free agent, Jeffery made a declaration of love for the city of Philadelphia and dropped a low-key sneak-diss aimed at Chicago.
“I love the city of Philadelphia,” Jeffery said. “Chicago was just when I was there for work.”
Ouch, man. That one hurt.
And apparently, he didn’t like the working conditions much either:
More Alshon Jeffery, on what it’s like playing at Soldier Field: “The field is terrible.
"When I was there, we always used to tell the equipment manager that you gotta change the field, get the field better. I’m just saying: It’s terrible.”#Eagles
— Zack Rosenblatt (@ZackBlatt) January 2, 2019
OK, no argument here. Soldier Field has long been known as a place players don’t enjoy playing because of the surface itself. The Soldier Field turf monsters are notorious and it has never been forgiving. But hey, it didn’t look as torn up when we last saw it in Week 15 against the Packers as it has in previous years at the same point in the season. Is the Chicago Park District making progress on maintenance? If so, kudos. If not, well, get on it. There’s a playoff game on Sunday.
As for the Bears as an opponent, Jeffery had some thoughts on the secondary he’ll be facing:
Alshon Jeffery on the Bears’ secondary: “They’re playing football and they’ve gotten a lot of turnovers. They haven’t played the Eagles, though.”#PHIvsCHI
— Ed Benkin (@EdBenkin) January 2, 2019
Jeffery is talking about a Bears defense allowed just six 100-yard receiving games and two 100-yard rushing games this season. And only once did they allow a 100-yard receiver and 100-yard rusher to get off in the same game. The only quarterback to throw for more than 300 yards against them was *check notes* Brock Osweiler in Week 6. In the 11 games that followed that atrocious outing, opposing quarterbacks threw more interceptions (17) than touchdowns (10).
So yeah, Jeffery is right. The Bears defense hasn’t faced the Eagles, but it’s not like the Eagles have played these Bears either.
Jeffery’s time in Chicago brings out mixed emotions from Bears fans.
There were some good times, such as two 1,000-yard receiving seasons and an invite to the Pro Bowl in 2013. And there were some rough stretches, like when Jeffery missed 17 games due to various injuries and a four-game suspension for a performance-enhancing drug. In the end, we were bummed to see the Bears allow him to walk away because he was productive when healthy and the team could have used as many warm-blooded pass-catchers as it could get. And judging by the commentary we received from a vocal portion of our fans, we weren’t the only ones who had fond memories of Jeffery and missed him wearing navy blue and orange.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like the feelings were mutual.