After undergoing offseasons they'd rather forget, two of the league's most scrutinized clubs will get a much-needed return to football when the Philadelphia Eagles host the New England Patriots on Friday night. Both teams had players become embroiled in off-field controversies over the past months and are certainly looking to put a summer of public relations nightmares behind them.
The Eagles have suffered through the Riley Cooper circus ever since a video of the wideout using a racial slur went viral. Cooper missed several days of practice while undergoing counseling, but has since returned to the team and is likely to suit up for Friday's exhibition. Meanwhile, an intriguing quarterback battle between Michael Vick and Nick Foles continues to play out. Head coach Chip Kelly has named Vick the starter for the preseason opener, but insists the competition remains tight.
The Patriots' offseason, however, has been marked by the Aaron Hernandez murder investigation. Despite having severed ties with Hernandez, the team has undergone constant questioning about their former player as he continues to be investigated for the murder of Odin Lloyd.
The Patriots also face a steep challenge on the field, as well, where, in addition to Hernandez, they're going without tight end Rob Gronkowski (back injury) and receiver Wes Welker (left in free agency). Friday's first drive or two may provide clues on how Tom Brady and the offense plan to fill those voids.
Tim Tebow will make his on-field debut for the Patriots at some point in this game, as well.
Friday, Aug. 9, 7:30 p.m. ET
Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Penn.
Boston: WBZ Ch. 4
NFL Preseason Live (requires subscription)
Philadelphia: WEP 94.1 FM/610 AM
Boston: WBZ 98.5 FM