PHILADELPHIA ( - The heart and soul of the Eagles' Super Bowl LII defense, linebacker Nigel Bradham, will miss the 2018 season opener against the Atlanta Falcons on Sept. 6.

The seven-year veteran will be suspended for Week 1 by the NFL something that dates back to two arrests in South Flordia over a ten-week period in 2016. In July of that year Bradham was charged with assaulting a cabana boy at a Miami-area hotel and in October he was arrested at the Miami airport with a gun in his bag.

The suspension was tied to the assault allegation.

"I would like to apologize to my fans, coaches, teammates and the entire eagles organization for the 1 game suspension," Bradham wrote on Twitter. "This stems from a July 2016 incident and the matter is now resolved. I look forward to giving it my all this season and helping the team win another Championship."

After the second incident, Jim Schwartz was very upset.

“You do dumbass things, pretty soon, you’re going to be labeled as a dumbass,” the defensive coordinator said at the time. “... And he’s got a lot of ground to make up. Because it’s not just him, it’s the rest of us also. It’s everybody that wears that helmet, all the people in the organization. He represents not just himself, he represents everybody and he’s got some ground to make up that way. He’s got to earn some trust back.”

Bradham made up that ground last season taking over the communication aspect of the defense seamlessly after Jordan Hicks went down with a torn Achilles' and proving to be both a cerebral and intimidating presence as a three-down linebacker.

That earned Bradham a five-year, $40 million extension with the Eagles this offseason, although the deal is a team-friendly one with an out after this season if anything else arises.

The suspension will put the Eagles in a bind against Marr Ryan and the Falcons in Week 1 because depth at LB was already a concern after the release of Mychal Kendricks due to salary-cap restraints and the loss of veteran addition Paul Worrilow to a season-ending ACL injury.

Hicks will be back while free-agent pickup Corey Nelson and second-year player Nate Gerry got quite a few first-team reps in the spring. Special-teams stalwart Kamu Grugier-Hill, Joe Walker, and ex-Falcon LaRoy Reynolds could also factor in.

“We have been in contact with Nigel and the NFL regarding his suspension. We respect the league’s decision on this matter and we are disappointed that Nigel put himself in this position," the Eagles' organization said in a statement. "Nigel has taken responsibility and expressed to us through his words and actions that he has learned from his mistake. We will continue to be supportive of him throughout this process.”

-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for You can reach him at or on Twitter @JFMcMullen

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