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  • Eagles players pay tribute to Kobe Bryant
    by Brandon Lee Gowton on January 26, 2020 at 9:58 pm

    Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images RIP. In truly tragic news, Kobe Bryant was one of multiple people who reportedly died in a Los Angeles helicopter crash on Sunday morning. Kobe’s daughter Gianna Bryant was also reportedly one of those who did not survive the accident. Ugh. Just awful. Kobe was obviously known for being an NBA legend but he also had a special connection to the Philadelphia Eagles. The Lower Merion High School alumnus spent part of his life growing up in Philly and he was never shy about his Eagles fandom. Kobe Bryant's Thanksgiving message: "Go Eagles!"— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) November 27, 2014 Kobe Bryant left Philly wearing an Eagles shirt (via @axgilbert)— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) December 2, 2015 Kobe gave a pep talk to the Eagles when the team stayed out in Los Angeles ahead of a road game against the Rams back in December 2017, less than two months before the Birds won Super Bowl LII. Kobe was legitimately pumped when the Eagles finally won their first Vince Lombardi Trophy: This is 2 years ago. How excited Kobe Bryant was that his Eagles won the Super Bowl“We won the f***** Super Bowl!”#RIPMAMBA— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) January 26, 2020 The Eagles put out a statement:— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) January 26, 2020 Players have also taken to social media to pay tribute to one of the greatest competitors of all time. Prayers up for his family. So sad and heartbreaking.— Carson Wentz (@cj_wentz) January 26, 2020 Sitting here in disbelief...I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around the loss of another King — Malcolm Jenkins (@MalcolmJenkins) January 26, 2020 You brought something different to the game You was my Favorite Ni*** !!!! There will never be another BLACC MAMBA Love You bro !!!! @kobebryant This shit can’t be true IM SIC— Desean Jackson (@DeSeanJackson10) January 26, 2020 Speechless... proves that life is too short. Rest in Heaven, you a true role model @kobebryant #Mamba— Miles Sanders (@BoobieMilesXXIV) January 26, 2020 Man this hurts...— Zach Ertz (@ZERTZ_86) January 26, 2020 This news is killing me today... My childhood hero gone too soon. Better believe I got him!! RIP MAMBA #EpicSh*t— Zach Ertz (@ZERTZ_86) January 26, 2020 Rip 8Kobe24 #MambaMentality— Alshon Jeffery (@TheWorldof_AJ) January 26, 2020 The impact you had on many lives can never be measured. RIP Black Mamba 24/8. Prayers for your family and the families of the others who lost their lives as well.— Jordan Howard (@JHowardx24) January 26, 2020 There will never be another like you R.I.P Kobe #MambaMentality— Rodney McLeod (@Rodney_McLeod4) January 26, 2020 Hard to believe— Avonte Maddox (@2live_AM) January 26, 2020 Man this one hurts— Avonte Maddox (@2live_AM) January 26, 2020 MY FAVORITE ATHLETE EVER MAN..MY INSPIRATION!!! I AM SICK RIGHT NOW!!! I CANT EVEN EXPRESS IT...SO HEARTBROKEN— Sidney Jones IV (@SidneyJonesIV) January 26, 2020 Rest In Peace Black Mamba We love you Kobe— ⚪️ (@NathanGerry) January 26, 2020 R.I.P Kobe — daeshon hall (@DaeshonHall) January 26, 2020 I remember this video putting a big smile on my face. Still can’t believe the news. Kobe was an inspiration to so many people around the WORLD! Prayers up to all the families involved R.I.P.— Kyle Lauletta (@kylelauletta) January 26, 2020

  • NFL Pro Bowl 2020
    by Brandon Lee Gowton on January 26, 2020 at 7:18 pm

    Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports Who’s excited? The day we’ve all been waiting for has FINALLY arrived. That’s right, it’s time for the 2020 Pro Bowl! Please, try to contain your excitement. For as much as we all make fun of the NFL’s All-Star game, people do actually watch this thing. Last year’s Pro Bowl reportedly had 8.23 million viewers, which is crazy. If you find yourself watching today’s matchup between the NFC and the AFC, well, here’s a thread for you to discuss it with your fellow BGN community members. And here’s a link to a post about some of the new rules the NFL will be testing. Philadelphia Eagles players playing in today’s exhibition include center Jason Kelce, right tackle Lane Johnson, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, and long snapper (!) Rick Lovato. Right guard Brandon Brooks and tight end Zach Ertz were also selected to this year’s Pro Bowl but won’t be playing due to injury. Players from today’s winning team will each receive a $70,000 bonus. The losing players will ‘only’ receive $35,000. WE ALL WE GOT WE ALL WE NEED! #FlyEaglesFly— Rick Lovato (@TheSnappingLife) January 23, 2020 2020 Pro Bowl start time, TV, and streaming info Kickoff: 3:00 PM ET Location: Camping World Stadium | Orlando, Florida Channel: ESPN, ABC Streaming: FuboTV

  • NFL Mock Draft Roundup: Multiple scenarios have Henry Ruggs III falling to the Eagles
    by Brandon Lee Gowton on January 26, 2020 at 3:32 pm

    Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports Who will the Birds take? The 2020 NFL Draft might seem far away but it’ll be here before you know it. Mock draft season has already begun and there’s no shortage of opinion as to whom the Philadelphia Eagles could select with the No. 21 overall pick. Let’s take a look at which players the experts have the Eagles taking in this week’s roundup. Fake Teams (Pete Rogers) - Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama I love this pick too much to ever change it. Remember when DeSean Jackson was healthy for those two games and Carson Wentz was just casually tossing him bomb after bomb downfield? Ruggs would instantly add explosion to the Eagles depleted receiving core. (Daniel Jeremiah) - Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama Speed! The Eagles are focused on getting faster this offseason, and Ruggs is the most explosive player in the draft. Sports Illustrated (Kevin Hanson) - Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama Given the depth at receiver in this year’s draft class, one of the best in recent memory, it’s possible some of them get pushed down a bit. A top-12 prospect on my big board, Ruggs would provide the Eagles with the vertical element their passing attack has lacked. A legitimate threat to the NFL combine’s 40-yard dash record, Ruggs scored on one of four touches over his collegiate career. Fox Sports (Jason McIntyre) - Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama At this point, their primary needs are receiver, and then secondary would be a distant second. We all saw how Philly’s skill players fared in 2019, after all ... ESPN (Mel Kiper) - Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson Philadelphia has to upgrade at wide receiver — its two top pass-catchers in 2019 were tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert — and the depth and talent in this class could set up perfectly for the Eagles to have several options here. At 6-foot-4, Higgins is the biggest wideout of the first-round talents, a jump-ball specialist and touchdown machine (25 the past two seasons). He’s not super explosive like Lamb, Jeudy or Ruggs, but he’ll box out cornerbacks in the red zone and pick up first downs, not unlike Alshon Jeffery, who struggled to stay on the field this season. The Eagles would have liked more from second-round pick J.J. Arcega-Whiteside in Year 1, and I still like his upside, but Higgins has No. 1 receiver talent. As is always the case for Philadelphia, this is another spot to watch for an edge rusher. The Draft Network (Joe Marino) - Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson The receiving corps the Philadelphia Eagles featured at the end of the season was … something. Even if DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery come back healthy, they are aging, and it’s hard to imagine Nelson Agholor re-signing. It’s time to solidify the wide receiver corps for Carson Wentz and Tee Higgins would be a great fit. His blend of size and vertical receiving ability blends well with the offense and how the Eagles would like to attack defenses. CBS Sports (Chris Trapasso) - Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson Dream come true for the Eagles, a team starved to inject more youth and talent to its receiver group. CBS Sports (Josh Edwards) - Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson Philadelphia is hopeful that Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb or Higgins fall to their pick. All three are accomplished downfield threats, which the Eagles need to replace their likely offseason losses. SB Nation (Dan Kadar) - Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado Speaking of receivers with star potential, the Eagles could get a steal with a receiver like Shenault. In most years Shenault would be a top-15 pick or higher. But with this draft being loaded at the position, teams will get lucky in the middle of the first round. DraftTek (Broz) - Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado Well Eagles fans, Draft Season is finally upon us. Once we wrap up a few minor details and technicalities (Super Bowl), we can finally get down to the important stuff: pretend drafting!!! The first rule in the Hippocratic Corpus states: “Before thou can heal a man, thou must knowest what ails the man”. No need to look that up for fact-checking me, it’s in there. So, what ails the Eagles? This stat says it all: Carson Wentz is the first QB in NFL history to eclipse 4,000 pass yards without a WR reaching 500 receiving yards. So obviously, WR is the most glaring area of need. Remember this, though: the Eagles won a Super Bowl on the backs of their O-Line and’s their identity, and they’d be wise to not let momentary weaknesses in less-important areas keep them from constantly solidifying those units. If a talented pass rusher or DT slides, they should take him. In this week’s CMD, I found myself in an awkward spot. Still on the board were Higgins, Ruggs, and Delpit. Higgins is the guy I want to like, that everyone else seems to like, but I just can’t make myself like. Every WR class has a bust, and he’s my candidate to be that guy this year. I do like Ruggs; however, he was never “The Guy” at ‘Bama. I like Delpit’s game, but college safeties are so hard to project unless they’re Top 5 kind of guys (which Delpit is not). Most of these RD1 WRs look like skinny kids who are still maturing...but not Laviska Shenault. He’s a grown-ass man. At 6’2” and 220 lbs, he’s got an NFL-ready frame and isn’t afraid to bang heads with anyone. He was The Guy at Colorado, and might be the only Buffalo who’ll get drafted. Here his coach fawns over him, calling him “Julio Jones, but bigger” (perhaps a bit optimistic). He’s a playmaker everywhere on the field; however, the main concern with him are injuries. Luckily, the Eagles have a top-notch medical staff. Pro Football Network (AJ Schulte) - Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado The Eagles wide receivers were completely decimated by injuries and inconsistent play all season long, which makes it a bit of a risk giving them a player who has had a few injuries in college. However, Shenault is the most talented wide receiver available and would be a star playmaker for the Eagles, especially if the rumors come true about the hiring of USC offensive coordinator Graham Harrell for the same position. CBS Sports (Ryan Wilson) - Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU The Eagles were hobbled by injuries in the secondary all season and Fulton, who would have been in the first-round conversation had he declared a year ago, remains one of the best cornerbacks in this class. Draft Countdown (Scott Wright) - CJ Henderson, CB, Florida The most pressing need for Philly is speed and playmaking ability on offense, but Alabama WR Henry Ruggs III is the best fit and he’s already off the board. Fortunately wideout is the deepest position in this class and they should be able to address it on Day 2. Instead the Eagles turn their attention to the defense and a problematic secondary, which could use an infusion of talent at both cornerback and safety. Henderson has everything you want from a size, speed and athleticism standpoint but his physicality leaves something to be desired and he wasn’t much of a playmaker for the Gators. In fact, he didn’t record a single interception during his final season in Gainesville. Henderson has all the tools to be a high-level starting cover guy at the next level though and that is exactly what the Eagles are searching for. The Athletic (Bo Wulf) - Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina I know, you want a wide receiver, and so do I. But the only wide receiver in Mobile who has any possible first-round traction is Arizona State’s Brandon Aiyuk, who didn’t practice because of a failed physical, so he’s not eligible for this exercise (but you can joke that the injury makes him a perfect fit for the Eagles). It’s probably a consensus that Kinlaw is the highest-rated non-quarterback practicing this week, and there’s a good chance he’ll be off the board before the Eagles are scheduled to pick at No. 21. The Athletic’s Dane Brugler ranked Kinlaw 10th in his pre-Senior Bowl top 100. But those rankings are early and fluid, and an early run on quarterbacks and wide receivers could push Kinlaw down the board within the Eagles’ reach. I’m on the record as believing defensive tackle is the second most-likely position the Eagles could address in the first round, because even though cornerback is a more dire short-term need, I expect them to address it in free agency. They can’t afford to enter the draft needing to rely on a rookie corner to start, whereas they are unlikely to address the defensive tackle position with a starting-caliber veteran after signing Malik Jackson last season. Jackson and Fletcher Cox will be 30 and 29, respectively, next season. The Eagles need a young, impact player at the position, which is theoretically what Kinlaw would provide. At 6-foot-5 and 315 pounds, Kinlaw was dominant through two days of practice before shutting things down for the week. He had six sacks and six tackles for loss as a senior at South Carolina. Here’s what Brugler wrote about Kinlaw: “Entering his senior season as a projected top-20 pick, Kinlaw didn’t disappoint in his final collegiate season and has a legitimate chance to land in the top 10. He looks like an NFL player with his broad-shouldered frame, length and explosive quickness to be a homewrecker on the interior.” Pairing Kinlaw with Cox would then give the Eagles a pair of homewreckers at defensive tackle. NFL Draft Diamonds (Damond Talbot) - Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama Though everyone knows that Philly has a large addressable need at wide receiver, the remaining first round talents do not fit their offensive scheme. With a receiver class as deep as this one, the Eagles are able to wait until later rounds to draft one and can attempt to fix their secondary; another position of need. Philly’s defensive backs were absolutely manhandled this season, allowing the second most plays of forty yards or more (15) in the league. As a safety, McKinney recorded 95 tackles for Alabama this year, proving that he can be reliable a factor in containing those big yardage plays. SUMMARY WR Henry Ruggs III - 4WR Tee Higgins - 4WR Laviska Shenault - 3CB Kristian Fulton - 1CB CJ Henderson - 1DT Javon Kinlaw - 1S Xavier McKinney - 1 WR - 11CB - 2DT - 1S - 1 Offense - 11Defense - 4 THOUGHTS Always interesting to see the mocks that former Eagles scout and Howie Roseman’s friend Daniel Jeremiah puts out. Him and three others think Ruggs can fall to Philly at No. 21. It’d sure be great if they were right. Ruggs is exactly what this team needs. He’s The Chosen One. (DJ is being pretty generous since Ruggs is No. 14 on his big board.) Higgins is a reach pick based on where multiple boards have him. He’s outside of Kiper’s top 25. He’s Jeremiah’s No. 29 prospect. BGN’s Benjamin Solak has him No. 98 over at The Draft Network. Not the ideal fit or the right value for the Eagles at No. 21. Kinlaw had a great week at the Senior Bowl and might not be there when the Eagles pick. Defensive tackle isn’t an immediate need but both Fletcher Cox and Malik Jackson will be over 30 this season. Cox is coming off the second lowest sack total of his career while Jackson is coming off a season where he barely played. Jackson is also two seasons removed from being benched and then cut. The Eagles sure have a big need at safety with Malcolm Jenkins demanding a raise and Rodney McLeod set to be a free agent. Would they draft one on Day 1? They’ve never drafted a first-round safety who then played exclusively at that position for them. The Roseman era Eagles haven’t drafted a Day 2 safety since Jaiquawn Jarrett (yikes) in 2011. Who is your favorite for No. 21?

  • The Linc - Joe Flacco as Carson Wentz’s backup?
    by Brandon Lee Gowton on January 26, 2020 at 11:00 am

    Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 1/26/20. Let’s get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ... Every NFL team’s projected 2020 starting QB: Where Tom Brady could land, and what it means for the other 31 - CBS SportsTBD – Joe Flacco. Don’t see him back with Broncos as a likely cap casualty. Will be interesting to see his price-point on the market, A return to Philly area as a backup to oft-injured Wentz might make sense. [BLG Note: If Josh McCown isn’t back and the Eagles want a veteran behind Wentz, Flacco and Case Keenum are two experienced options to consider.] What the Eagles should do at safety - BGNOutlook: Malcolm Jenkins said that he won’t be returning to the Eagles in 2020 on his current deal, which was one season remaining. Giving more money to a player who turns 33 this year doesn’t seem to fit Howie Roseman’s “we need to get younger” edict but the team might need to make an exception for an exceptional player. The feeling here all along has been that the Eagles need to do what it takes to make Jenkins happy. And, really, what’s the alternative? The team doesn’t have young safeties in the pipeline to replace Jenkins. He’s been incredibly valuable to this team — not just as a player but also as a leader off the field — and I think they’d very quickly realize just how much they miss him. It feels like the Eagles should be able to come to an agreement where Jenkins gets a raise without committing too many more years to him. Babes On Broad #22: His Hair & Mustache Is Reason Enough - BGN RadioSam Wilson & Jessica Towne ruminate over the ongoing Eagles OC search, ask which Eagles will be back next year and get you updated with What’s Going On Around Philly! Powered by SB Nation & Bleeding Green Nation! Let the Hiring Begin - Iggles BlitzThe Eagles have some tough decisions to make in regard to their secondary. Manuel could have real value in that process. He won’t come in with pre-conceived notions and friendships. Manuel can watch the tape and offer his unbiased thoughts on who should stay and who should go. Manuel won’t be taking over a dynamic group like Bobby, Troy and Al or the Legion of Boom. He will need to find a way to get the most out of his DBs, even without any Pro Bowl players to work with. Obviously Manuel shared some good thoughts with Jim Schwartz, Doug Pederson and Jeffrey Lurie (and probably Howie Roseman) on how he could get the current DBs to play well in the Eagles scheme. Manuel played for Schwartz in Detroit so they have a relationship and speak the same language. That will help Manuel to hit the ground running and pick up the Eagles scheme quickly. Another selling point for Manuel is that he was able to help develop young DBs in Atlanta. Former Falcons defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel interviewing with the Eagles - The FalcoholicManuel, similar to Sarkisian, showed some flashes while in Atlanta. The young defense looked great in 2017, with many expecting a big jump in 2018. That jump never happened after injuries took out many top defenders. Manuel had no answers as the defense fell to the bottom of the league. He probably needs a few more years before he gets another shot at defensive coordinator, but Manuel is widely considered as a great secondary coach. That work is sometimes overshadowed by some inappropriate questions he asked during the NFL combine. While Manuel has received the least interest of any of the former Falcons coordinators, he is clearly still respected around the league for his positional coaching. 2019 Fantasy Football Recap: Top 25 running backs - Fake Teams15. Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles — 2019 ADP: RB29. The top scoring rookie back who repsonded well to taking a full load over the final few weeks, including 60 points across Weeks 15 and 16. I thought he’d be the starter sooner this season but should be locked in for 2020. Kid reporter asks Jason Kelce hard-hitting questions at Pro Bowl - PE.comKid reporter Braydon Bent traveled all the way from the United Kingdom to ask Jason Kelce some hard-hitting questions at the Pro Bowl. Scouts pick the most underrated 2020 NFL draft prospects at the Senior Bowl - ESPN+Scout No. 5’s pick: Troy Pride Jr., CB, Notre Dame. Pride, one of three Notre Dame defensive backs in Mobile, is a pure cover corner who has shown the ability to mirror routes by wide receivers. He was able to plaster himself to advanced route runners such as Texas A&M’s Quartney Davis during one-on-ones. At the same time, he was able to body up in the red zone against bigger wideouts such as 6-foot-4, 229-pound Notre Dame receiver Chase Claypool. What they’re saying: “This guy is one of the more underrated corners in the draft and quickly separated himself from the rest with some impressive battles in one-on-ones. No-brainer best corner I’ve seen here so far. Great speed and quickness ... In my mind, he’s taken himself from a Day 3 prospect to potential second-rounder.” Andy Reid: Back to his old LA stomping ground - Inquirer archives In June 2012, The Inquirer published Jeff McLane’s article about Andy Reid’s youth in conjunction with Reid being inducted into the John Marshall High School hall of fame. McLane visited with Reid in his hometown of Los Angeles and made stops at Reid’s childhood home, his high school, and other landmarks in the Los Feliz section of Los Angeles. Before Andy Reid was a coach, he wanted to be a sportswriter. His columns were ... unorthodox - SB NationThe column (by ANDY REID “The Man”) is a defense of McMahon, who was evidently written about in a poor light by a Wisconsin reporter. According to Reid, McMahon was painted as a “traitor, egotist, anti-religionist” player. “Jim McMahon is not a traitor. Traitors do not sacrifice their bodies on a Saturday afternoons. Traitors do not take badmouthing from their fans. Traitors leave at the first opportunity or devise schemes to sabotage their counterparts. This is not part of Jim McMahon and never will be. Jim McMahon is not a traitor!” But wait, there’s more. ... Social Media Information: BGN Facebook Page: Click here to like our page BGN Twitter: Follow @BleedingGreen BGN Instagram: Follow @BleedingGreenInsta BGN Manager: Brandon Lee Gowton: Follow @BrandonGowton BGN Radio Twitter: Follow @BGN_Radio

  • Report: Eagles hire Marquand Manuel as defensive backs coach
    by Brandon Lee Gowton on January 26, 2020 at 12:02 am

    Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images One fewer vacant position on Philadelphia’s coaching staff. The Philadelphia Eagles are hiring former Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel as their new defensive backs coach, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. Manuel replaces former Eagles defensive backs coach Cory Undlin, who was hired away by the Detroit Lions. Undlin had held his previous role since 2015. ESPN previously reported Manuel was interviewing with the Eagles. Here’s what we wrote at the time: Manuel, a sixth-round pick by the Cincinnati Bengals, played safety in the NFL from 2002 through 2009. He played his last season for Jim Schwartz’s Detroit Lions (there’s your Eagles connection) before joining the Seattle Seahawks’ coaching staff in 2012. Manuel followed Dan Quinn to Atlanta when the latter was hired as the Falcons’ head coach. Manuel served as a secondary coach on Quinn’s staff for two seasons before being promoted to defensive coordinator in 2017. Manuel was then fired after the 2018 season and has been out of work since. Manuel has worked with a number of notable defensive backs throughout his coaching career. He was an assistant secondary coach for Seattle when Byron Maxwell emerged as a full-time starter in 2014. (Some team went on to pay that Maxwell guy a lot of money in free agency but I can’t remember which.) Manuel oversaw Desmond Trufant’s sole Pro Bowl season in 2015. Keanu Neal also developed into a Pro Bowl player in Atlanta. The 40-year-old Manuel seems like a worthwhile replacement for [Undlin]. And here’s how Eagles fans felt about the prospects of this hire: Meanwhile, this is how our associates over at The Falcoholic reacted to the Manuel news: Manuel, similar to [Steve] Sarkisian, showed some flashes while in Atlanta. The young defense looked great in 2017, with many expecting a big jump in 2018. That jump never happened after injuries took out many top defenders. Manuel had no answers as the defense fell to the bottom of the league. He probably needs a few more years before he gets another shot at defensive coordinator, but Manuel is widely considered as a great secondary coach. That work is sometimes overshadowed by some inappropriate questions he asked during the NFL combine. While Manuel has received the least interest of any of the former Falcons coordinators, he is clearly still respected around the league for his positional coaching. Manuel seems appropriately qualified for his new job. Now Manuel has his work cut out for him as he takes over a secondary that’s seen a lot of struggles in recent seasons. There could be a lot of personnel turnover considering three out of the Eagles’ four starting defensive backs from 2019 are free agents (Jalen Mills, Ronald Darby, Rodney McLeod) ... and another has declared he won’t return to the team on his current contract (Malcolm Jenkins). The Eagles will likely add new defensive backs through both free agency and the 2020 NFL Draft. It’s up to Manuel to help get the best out of them. Maybe he can even help out some of the in-house players like Sidney Jones and/or Rasul Douglas. Manuel’s addition gives the Eagles another former NFL defensive coordinator on their staff. Eagles defensive special assistant Matt Burke — who is rumored to be Phillip Daniels’ replacement at defensive line coach — and linebackers coach Ken Flajole also previously held DC jobs. With the Eagles’ defensive backs coach opening (and defensive line coach opening?) filled, the attention turns back to what’s going on at offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach. My guess is that we’ll finally get some news on that front this week ... but we’ll see.


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