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NFL investigating Russell Shepard negotiation

Russell+Shepard+-mb2igygzkWm Getty Images

The “everyone does it” defense may not keep the Eagles from being punished for negotiating with a potential undrafted free agent before the draft ended.

To that the Saints would say, “Welcome to the club.”

On Wednesday, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told Tim McManus of PhillyMag.com that the league is investigating receiver Russell Shepard’s claim that he reached an agreement to sign with the Eagles during the sixth round of the draft.

“Yes, we are looking into it to determine the facts,” Aiello said.

The facts seem to be clear.  Shepard has said, both in a radio interview and on Twitter, that he agreed to join the Eagles before the draft ended.  “I actually took myself off the draft board during the draft,” Shepard boasted, obviously not realizing that the rules prevent teams from trying to sign players who may not be drafted before the draft ends.

The Eagles have tiptoed around the question of whether negotiation occurred during the draft.  The team denies that a verbal agreement was reached prematurely.

“Russell Shepard has not signed a contract with the Philadelphia Eagles,” the team said in a statement issued to PFT on Wednesday.  “However, we did come to terms on a contract with he and his agent after the draft was completed.  We anticipate he, like all of the rookie free agents we have agreed to terms with, will take a physical examination upon arriving in Philadelphia prior to next week’s rookie mini-camp and then sign a contract.”

For the Eagles, the question becomes whether the NFL will accept Shepard’s inevitable claim that he was joking or misinformed or simply bragging when he said what he said.  For Shepard, the question becomes whether the Eagles decide to yank their offer to Shepard if he doesn’t successfully clean up this mess.

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28 Responses to “NFL investigating Russell Shepard negotiation”
  1. steelerdynasty2010 says: May 2, 2013 7:25 AM

    the kid obviously spoke out of turn, but i have a hard time believing that the eagles didnt tell him or his agent that this negotiation couldnt become public until AFTER the draft, and even then could never be discussed as happening DURING the draft. Also a little hard to believe that his agent wouldnt know that to begin with…unless draft day was his first day at work……

  2. floratiotime says: May 2, 2013 7:32 AM

    Chip ran a dirty program at Oregon. Why should anyone be surprised if it carries over to the NFL ?

  3. kissmytaintpatriotsrule says: May 2, 2013 7:34 AM

    How long do you think it took John Mara to call Rodger to order an investigation?

  4. bigredgoog says: May 2, 2013 7:42 AM

    Mike, back in business law class in college it seems like if there was an offer and an acceptance that “yanking the offer” was not without consequences. Certainly in this case if they pulled the offer I bet the kid’s story would change and no longer be “I was joking” but become “They said they would pay me this amount and my agent and I both told them DEAL”. He may be able to ride this to a some type of wink wink deal that he will not be allowed to be cut until after the final preseason game.

  5. whitdog23 says: May 2, 2013 7:45 AM

    what a dufus!

  6. rockyburnette says: May 2, 2013 7:48 AM

    Florio,
    It is the coverup that kills. Yanking the offer would amplify the problem. If the kid can’t tap dance the Eagles have to eat it, period. Retaliation will only increase the damage with the players association, league, and agents. Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time…

  7. FinFan68 says: May 2, 2013 7:48 AM

    “everyone does it” is an excuse, not a defense

  8. ampats says: May 2, 2013 7:51 AM

    Lesson # 1 to Chip Kelly

    No longer in college football where payment to players is the norm within certain major programs.

    Obviously Shephard is not the brightest bulb on the tree.

    Fines /loss of trade choices coming

  9. tv426 says: May 2, 2013 8:01 AM

    Since this isn’t the Patriots, look for GODdell to suspend the coach for a year and the GM for 6 games.

  10. myeaglescantwin says: May 2, 2013 8:02 AM

    there’s always something with philly huh..

    if it’s not “dream teams” from one terrible QB
    or “dynasties” from another terrible QB,

    we may face sanctions now for flirting with a no name, undrafted WR.

    way to keep the stigma flowing Chappss.

    8-8, at worst 2nd in the division. . BOOK IT

  11. fresh1120 says: May 2, 2013 8:08 AM

    possibily losing a couple of draft picks to sign a udfa def not a good start for this regime

  12. jetsjetsjetsnow says: May 2, 2013 8:23 AM

    Who’s dumber? The Eagles, the player or his agent for not managing his player?

  13. jmac1013 says: May 2, 2013 8:28 AM

    Love all of you fools commenting about Chip being dirty…Do you really think chip was the guy on the phone with the agent? It would have been Howie Roseman or Tom Gamble (GM).

  14. thraiderskin says: May 2, 2013 8:30 AM

    Wasn’t LSU one of the schools linked to the same “recruiting service” Oregon is going to get in trouble for(which should raise some eyebrows)? I find it interesting that this whole mess just happens to be between a LSU Tiger and Chip Kelly.

  15. wheeln69 says: May 2, 2013 8:43 AM

    John Mara, Owner NYG and Competition Committee Chair wants an explanation…

  16. phillyphannn83 says: May 2, 2013 8:54 AM

    Relax people, there will be no fine, no suspensions, no loss of draft picks, nothing. This was a kid who wasn’t picked where he thought he should and made this crap up to make himself look like he was the reason he wasnt drafted. He wanted to look like he was in control of where he was going and why he wasnt picked. He still hasn’t signed a contract and if it isn’t on paper then its he said/they said. This isn’t bountygate or spygate. Its hardly something that warrants the reaction it is soliciting from you people.

    NFC East Champs 2013, book it.

  17. nfceastfan says: May 2, 2013 8:58 AM

    The better question would be who doesn’t start signing rookie free agents right after the draft. Washington Redskins are usually the first to start, and I call that great front office management not illegal. Aaron getting carried away, Mike.

  18. officialgame says: May 2, 2013 9:25 AM

    What have we learned? The Eagles had an agreement in principle with the players agent before the draft was over. Every team in the NFL does this the and it’s just the way the bacon is cooked. The player got on twitter and said he was signed and took himself off the draft board. You can’t do that. The Eagles through all of this have learned they took interest in a village idiot that can’t be trusted with notebook let alone playbook.

  19. The Shoeman says: May 2, 2013 9:29 AM

    None of the Eagles’ undrafted free agents is even scheduled to come to Philadelphia to undergo a physical until May 9.

    Only after they pass their physical can they sign a contract.

    but don’t let FACTS, get in the way . . Florio.

    keep printing Eagle garbage to get those web-hits.

  20. dccowboy says: May 2, 2013 9:52 AM

    Sure, most teams probably do do it, the issue here isn’t that. The issue here is most teams/players don’t rub it in the NFL’s face like this kid did (whether he intended to or not). It is an unenforceable rule – unless someone is stupid enough to admit it on a national scale.

    I expect if the NFL decides to do anything it would simply prevent the Eagles from signing the kid and he’ll have to go to some other team.

  21. mazblast says: May 2, 2013 10:46 AM

    I’ll believe that the Eagles are being investigated and possibly punished fairly when the league investigates and punishes EVERYONE, in particular the Patriots and Giants.

  22. icdogg says: May 2, 2013 11:45 AM

    If money was discussed, there was an agreement in principle. If not, there wasn’t. I suspect there was no agreement.

  23. autoriot says: May 2, 2013 11:51 AM

    I hope the Eagles get this mess sorted out and drop this kid as soon as possible. Who wants a loud mouth moron like that on their team? If his bragging and showboating, before he has even signed with the team, are any indication of his character, this kid can go back to the FA list and pray someone wants to take a risk on someone with his “character.”

  24. rkt4mayor says: May 2, 2013 12:15 PM

    If Roger Goodell gives the Eagles sanctions and strips them of draft picks and prevents us from playing in the playoffs for the next few seasons…than I will never forgive Chip Kelly!

    Lose your bad habits now coach!

    No more recruiting violations.

    Play it straight. The Eagles stained their rep by bringing in Vick…let’s not compound the error by letting Chip Kelly cut corners, and sully the birds’ rep any further.

  25. amaf21 says: May 2, 2013 12:43 PM

    Commish should hammer them! They should lose draft picks AND salary cap space!

  26. andyreidisthegoat says: May 2, 2013 12:44 PM

    I love eagle’s fans. Look at how mad they get when there team gets in trouble and people call them out on it. You guys know you are not really part of the eagles organiztion-right? trust me if your well fare check didn’t cover all of your bills for the month, no one from the eagles organiztion would pay your bills for you. relax-it’s just a game.

    Oh and by the way they should lose lots of draft picks for this. It’s illegal from a football standpoint. And the saints were in the same boat with bounty gate. everybody does it but when you get caught you’ve got to pay the piper or the goddell in this case.

  27. barbeaux says: May 2, 2013 12:53 PM

    Did Brad Wing sort of hint the same thing about himself before the draft was over?

  28. garyhd01 says: May 2, 2013 4:57 PM

    so how much does a UDFA minimum entail 70 k I think I say give him the 70 and then cut him but pay him first hes too dumb to be in pro football maybe the Nebraska beff will give him 75 dollars per game like the offered tim tebow

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