Jenkins Plans to Lead Eagles Past the Hype
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Malcolm Jenkins has a number of passions in his life and one of them happens to be the game of football. Off the field, however, the versatile Philadelphia Eagles safety has made criminal justice reform in the African-American community a priority.
For that reason, it's no surprise that Jenkins was asked about the two incidents that have sullied the Eagles' offseason a bit when meeting with reporters at the NovaCare Complex on Tuesday.
The indictment of Michael Bennett in Houston on charges of injuring an elderly, wheelchair-bound security guard after Super Bowl LI was addressed as was the more recent arrest of Daryl Worley on DUI and firearms charges, something that resulted in the release of the 23-year-old cornerback less than 12 hours after the incident occurred in South Philadelphia early Sunday morning.
Jenkins knows Bennett well and advocated that the Eagles pick up the three-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman.
“From the outside looking in, not necessarily knowing all the details, but just kind of using common sense, it seems like they’re trying to make an example out of him,” Jenkins said when asked about Bennett. “But hopefully, those things will work out in his favor. He’s a guy that, I was excited when we [acquired]. Still looking forward to him being a part of this team, being part of this community, because I think he’s somebody that cares. Somebody that works hard, obviously, he’s a great athlete, but a great human being as well.”
Jenkins, 30, did not offer the same kind of validation for Worley, the North Philadelphia native who was found passed out in his car with a gun in plain sight before being combative with police and ultimately tased after he was woken.
“I don’t really know him too much," Jenkins admitted "... I still haven’t gotten all the details from the arrest and so forth, so it’s hard for me to comment on that."
From a football perspective, Jenkins remains Jim Schwartz's most versatile defensive chess piece, a player who lined up as a strong safety, free safety, linebacker, slot cornerback and even outside cornerback at times during the team's Super Bowl run last season.
Doug Pederson has proclaimed that there is a "new norm" in Philadelphia and for that to turn from rallying cry to reality Jenkins believes the Eagles have to quickly put the franchise's first Lombardi Trophy behind them.
"I think it’s important, as quickly as we can, to put last season behind us," the Pro Bowl selection said. "Focus on the here-and-now, what it’s going to take to win with the guys that we have. I kinda know some of the pitfalls [as a two-time Super Bowl winner]."
From a personal standpoint, the accolades that accompany a Super Bowl title may be the biggest hurdle for Jenkins, a player who admits he's at his best when there is a chip on his shoulder.
"For me personally, success is a lot harder to deal with than failure," Jenkins admitted. "I thrive off people telling me I couldn’t do it. ... But you can easily start believing the hype when people in April start telling you why you’re the favorite to repeat."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen