The Eagles placed Mike Patterson, their longest tenured player, on the Non-Football Illness list Wednesday which results on the defensive tackle being docked roughly half of his remaining pay after contracting viral pneumonia and being hospitalized.
Critics who have long argued that the Eagles are an organization that cares more about the bottom line and winning supposed Salary Cap Championships just gained a little more ammunition for their argument.
On Wednesday, the Eagles placed Mike Patterson on the Non Football Illness list after the defensive tackle was hospitalized with viral pneumonia last week. To fill Patterson’s spot on the roster, the team signed fullback/tight end Emil Igwenagu from the practice squad.
Patterson, who was resting at home when he news was delivered will miss the rest of the season following the Eagles removing him from the 53-man roster.
The consequence for Patterson is a hefty hit in the wallet after only playing in five games this season due to recovering from offseason brain surgery to cure AVM.
The move from the 53-man roster comes with a 50 percent pay cut which means that over the season’s final three games Patterson will earn roughly $150,000 less than his contract calls for over that time.
Moving Patterson to the NFI is certainly puzzling as there is no concrete evidence that the defensive tackle didn’t contract pneumonia while lifting weights at the Novacare Complex, in the locker room or during practice.
Wednesday, the Eagles released the following statement accompanied by the fact that they would issue no further comment:
“Our number one priority is to get Mike Patterson well enough to get back on the football field. He has worked hard this year to get back and he has our full support as an organization.”
The obvious implication with this move from the Eagles front office is that players must wash their hands and take proper precautions and safe guards against illness or risk a severe pay cut.
“This is not how you treat people if you’re a winning organization ” Petter Schaffer, Mike Patterson’s agent told Philly.com.
Schaffer spoke with Eagles General Manager Howie Roseman and informed him that he planned on filing a grievance because of the possibility that his client in fact got sick while at work, possibly while at practice in the elements of South Philadelphia.
“I told Howie this morning that if he could prove to me that Mike didn’t get pneumonia at practice I wouldn’t file a grievance,” Schaffer said. “He said he couldn’t.”
Patterson is the Eagles longest tenured player but his eight year tenure with the team will likely end after this season, despite having four years remaining on his deal. The former first round draft choice out of USC returned to action in the last five weeks as a backup defensive tackle after being sidelined for all of Training Camp and the regular season’s first seven games.
“I love Howie, but this is wrong and petty,” Schaffer said. “To do this to one of your leaders and to a guy that fought back from brain surgery is just wrong.”
To give fodder to critics is one thing, but this move will likely strike a chord in an already down and out Eagles locker room in the weeks leading up to what is expected to be an offseason makeover.