Mike Patterson‘s representation is prepared to file a grievance against the Eagles for their decision to place the defensive tackle on the non-football injury/illness list and cut his pay.
Patterson was hospitalized last week with viral pneumonia and missed Sunday’s game against the Bucs. The Eagles have since placed Patterson on NFI and called up Emil Igwenagu, who will give the Eagles another option at tight end with Brent Celek out with a concussion.
Agent J.R. Rickert contends that Patterson got pneumonia as a direct result of football-related activities, and that it is on the organization to prove otherwise.
“We tried to make that point to the Eagles and they disagreed,” said Rickert. “They said, ‘An illness is an illness.’
“He is entitled to the remaining 150 thousand of his contract and we’re going to take every step we can to ensure that he gets what he’s entitled to under his contract.”
Rickert added that he is willing to work with the Eagles before filing a grievance.
The team released the following statement: “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 has our full support as an organization.”
Patterson started the season on the Reserve/Non-Football Injury list as he recovered from surgery to correct a brain AVM. His condition was discovered after the eight-year veteran suffered a seizure at training camp before the 2011 season. He opted to put off surgery until the offseason and played in 15 games for the Eagles last year.
“This is not the way an organization should treat a player who has been a solid citizen and a leader on the team and somebody who does nothing but contribute to your club on and off the field,” said Rickert.
“This is not the message you want to send of how you deal with people…This is a guy who had a serious health condition and fought his way back because he wants to contribute to the team.”
Eagles head trainer Rick Burkholder said that the recent illness is not related to his prior condition.
“He looks like he is going to be alright,” said Burkholder of Patterson Tuesday. “After you have something like that it is hard to get your energy levels back up and make sure you can play and all that kind of stuff.”
Burkholder added that the staff was concerned about the possible spread of the illness, but as of Tuesday there were no indications that any other players had caught pneumonia.
Igwenagu has spent the season on the Eagles’ practice squad after signing as a rookie free agent out of Massachusetts. He totaled 75 receptions for 821 yards and four touchdowns at UMass while playing fullback, tight end and running back for the Minutemen.
The team also signed defensive tackle Ronnie Cameron to the practice squad.
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