Eagles coach Doug Pederson sent his players into the bye week with the traditional message about being safe and making good decisions.
Then, linebacker Nigel Bradham got arrested for having a loaded gun in his backpack at the Miami International Airport.
“How does it happen? Just forgot,” Bradham said, via Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Daily News. “It’s as simple as that.”
As he showed reporters the backpack in question, pointing out “the smallest zipper on the bag” where it was found by TSA agents in Miami, he said: “I never open this.”
But as astutely noted by Bowen, the bag also had the purple security tag the Eagles used for their Sept. 25 game against the Steelers, so either security at Lincoln Financial Field missed the forgotten gun or Bradham’s definition of “never” is different than the traditional one of “not ever.”
Bradham has a concealed carry permit, and showed it to TSA when they found the gun, but he was arrested anyway since he’s on bond from an offseason misdemeanor assault charge.
Asked whether he often carries a loaded gun, Bradham said it was common in Florida, and he has the appropriate paperwork.
“It wasn’t cocked and loaded,” he said. “It was loaded, as far as bulletswise.”
“You never want to be a distraction,” he said. “Obviously, that’s what happened . . . Right now, we’ve got a lot of positive things to talk about. We’re 3-0, coming off the bye week . . . We got the Lions, [need to] stay focused on the Lions.”
Pederson seemed less willing to just shrug it off.
“I don’t know why anybody would do that,” the Eagles coach said. “I don’t know all the circumstances around it . . . It’s a big deal, to do that. Obviously, he has it registered, and, from that standpoint – listen, I have rifles, and I like to hunt, but we just have to be smart.”
The gun charge might not have been as big a deal (though some would argue it should have been) if not for the assault charge, for which he was formally charged Wednesday, after being accused of punching the guy renting beach chairs and umbrellas at a party in Miami.