Eagles OTA Notebook: Brandon Graham makes decision on retirement, Quinyon Mitchell impresses A.J Brown

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Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham celebrates after a sack against the Buffalo Bills during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

It was widely rumored that the 2024 campaign would be Brandon Graham’s final one. Now it’s official. The 36-year-old defensive end casually dropped his retirement plans while addressing Eagles media during the second day of mandatory minicamp.

Graham, who has 14 sacks over the past two seasons, was describing his approach to the offseason and how much he valued mentoring the younger guys on defense when he, perhaps inadvertently, spilled the beans on his future.

When pressed, Graham admitted what many had assumed to be the case since the Eagles re-upped him on a one-year contract.

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PHILADELPHIA, PA – NOVEMBER 01: Philadelphia Eagles Defensive End Brandon Graham (55) celebrates a turnover in the first half during the game between the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles on November 01, 2020 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

“I’m going to be a part of the Eagles organization for sure,” Graham told reporters. “As a player, I think this will be my last hurrah and I’m going to enjoy it, too.”

Prior to the big reveal, Graham had painted the picture of a player preparing to ride off into the sunset. His eyes welled up — with jovial energy, not tears — as he talked about enjoying the camaraderie in the locker room for this final run.

“Enjoying the last little hurrah of everything I can, supporting the guys in a lot of the stuff they are doing off the field, and just the way Howie [Roseman] put this team together,” Graham said. “I can feel the good vibes. Man, he put us in a good position for this to be my last year, to go out with a team like this, now we just gotta put in the work.”

Kelee Ringo Not Afraid of Cornerback Competition

Kelee Ringo has been getting a lot of reps at minicamp, including back-to-back practices on the outside with the first-team defense. The second-year cornerback has been all over the field, making highlight-reel pass breakups on Parris Campbell and John Ross in consecutive days. The hype is real around Ringo as a potential starter.

When asked what he worked on in the offseason, Ringo provided the perfect answer for a 21-year-old aiming to be a franchise cornerstone at a position of need.

“My patience, my processing the game, and not having to think as much when the ball is in the air as I used to,” Ringo told reporters. “I feel like the game has slowed … you can play faster when you think less.”

Meanwhile, the competition in the cornerbacks room is fierce. In addition to Ringo, rookies Quinyon Mitchell and Cooper DeJean are fighting for starting spots. Ditto for newcomer Isaiah Rodgers, with veterans Avonte Maddox and James Bradberry (maybe?) splitting reps at safety and cornerback.

“The only thing it does is get us better because everything is up for grabs,” Ringo said. “Having the opportunity to compete for everything that everybody wants. I feel like that brings the best out of every single person out here especially with our offense as well, with how deep our receiver room is as well, it brings a lot of different looks which is good too.”

Cam Jurgens ‘Killing It’ at Center for the Eagles

The Eagles drafted Cam Jurgens to replace Jason Kelce at center, a move stamped with Mummers-sized approval by Kelce himself back in 2022. Fast forward to minicamp and the crown is already being fitted. Jurgens has been “killing it” in his transition from right guard to center, according to Jordan Mailata.

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PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 07: Philadelphia Eagles center Cam Jurgens (51) looks on during training camp on August 7, 2022 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia PA. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

“I’m not surprised at all that Cam is doing a great job. He’s a center. He’s not a right guard,” Mailata told reporters. “And he’s done an outstanding job of filling in and being very vocal. We’re big on communication up front and it starts with Cam. He’s done a great job of making the calls and we’re doing a great job of echoing it so everybody’s on the same page, and Cam’s killing it.”

Mailata also showered high praise on newcomer Mekhi Becton. The former first-round pick — No. 11 overall in 2020 — has seen reps at left guard and right tackle. Becton filled in for Landon Dickerson (excused absence, personal) for a second straight day.

“Getting to know Khi has been pretty easy. I feel like I’ve known him forever,” Mailata said. “He’s really funny, smart, very athletic, but then like an old friend. I only spoke to the bloke two times before he came to the Eagles and now we speak every day. It’s good.”

Quinyon Mitchell Talking Trash to AJ Brown

The funniest anecdote prior to Wednesday’s practice came courtesy of AJ Brown who divulged a bizarre bout of trash talking from the lips of Quinyon Mitchell.

Brown, laughing as he spoke, prefaced the exchange by repeatedly saying that Mitchell was one of the quietest people on the team, borderline mute. Then, out of the blue, the rookie cornerback got in Brown’s ear.

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Toledo cornerback Quinyon Mitchell poses on the red carpet ahead of the first round of the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Brown told reporters: “He doesn’t talk all that much, I don’t think you guys know that. He doesn’t really say anything and the first words I heard from him were like, ‘Hey, that route was trash.’ I was like, what? I was like, you don’t even talk and you talking trash? And so it was funny to hear it from him, and I told him, alright, I like to see that.

“I want to see you step up. Because he’s not going to be playing against me. He’s going to be playing against other guys and, you know, I want to see him hold his own. I told him, alright, you took the first step so now you gotta back it up. You’re going have to walk that walk.”

And Mitchell wasn’t the only one chirping on the practice field. According to Brown, Isaiah Rodgers was trying to cash a few checks with his mouth.

“He told me he’s going to have two picks today. And I told him, not against me, but go get ’em,” Brown said. “But he’s happy, man. He’s happy to be back. He’s flying around and he’s going to do some special stuff this year.”

AP Photo/Matt Slocum