PHILADELPHIA, PA (CBS) — Think back to around this time last year. Go back and Google anything involving any Eagles’ player and anything to do with drama off the field. You’ll be hard-pressed to find anything because there wasn’t anything.
Two years ago, sure, there was linebacker Nigel Bradham being arrested for allegedly beating up a cabana boy over an umbrella, and Lane Johnson suspended 10 games due to PED violations, and in early November 2016, the Eagles released Josh Huff after the wide receiver was arrested on gun and marijuana charges.
Again, last year, nothing. No off-the-field distractions, no foolish comedy.
Now this, Michael Bennett, who’s barely an Eagle, was indicted on Friday by a Harris County, Texas, grand jury for the felony charge of injury of the elderly for injuring a 66-year-old female paraplegic who was working at NRG Stadium to control access to the field at Super Bowl LI, prosecutors said.
A Harris County press release reads:
On Feb. 5, 2017, Bennett was a spectator and in town to watch his brother, a player for the New England Patriots.
Immediately following the game, Bennett shoved his way on to the field where players were gathering to celebrate.
NRG Security personnel, including the 66-year-old disabled victim, told Bennett he had to use a different entrance for field access.
Instead, he pushed through them, including the elderly woman who was part of the security team.
The charge, injury to the elderly, includes intentionally and knowingly, causing bodily injury to a person 65 years or older.
It carries a penalty of up to ten years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
As a result of the indictment, a warrant has been issued for Bennett’s arrest. Prosecutors are working with Bennett’s counsel regarding his surrender.
It’s enough to scratch your head and wonder what the Eagles have gotten themselves into with the former Seattle Seahawks’ star defensive end. He already arrives with some baggage. On the field last season, the 6-foot-4, 270-pound Pro Bowler struggled with plantar fascia and knee issues, even though he still produced 8.5 sacks, up from five in 2016. He had a career-high 10 sacks in 2015, when he missed five games.
In Seattle, he was increasingly outspoken on social issues, he alleges that Las Vegas police used excessive force in detaining him last offseason and held a gun to his head, though surveillance footage and police records don’t show anything like that, just that Bennett was handcuffed for seven minutes in the backseat of a police cruiser, then released. When asked to identify himself, Bennett can be heard on video saying to police, “My name is Michael Bennett, Seattle Seahawks, look it up.”
Last season, Bennett chose to sit out the national anthem before every game, except two when he wanted to show his support for the military.
The Eagles were a pretty drama-free, harmonious bunch last year and it served as the foundation of a team that had each other’s backs and led to the franchise’s first Super Bowl.
Could Bennett crack those roots?
According to various reports, Houston police chief Art Acevedo said Bennett “forcibly opened lock doors” in the tunnels of the stadium. The Houston chief then called Bennett “morally bankrupt” during a Friday afternoon press conference, and said, “I think it’s pretty pathetic that you’d put your hands on a 66-year-old paraplegic and treat them like they don’t exist.”
The Eagles released a statement saying: “We are aware of the situation involving Michael Bennett and are in the process of gathering more information. Because this is an ongoing legal matter, we will have no further comment at this time.”
Welcome back to “Drama City.”