Avant Advises Goodell On Locker Room Culture

Eagles Jason Avant vs. Dallas

As T-Mac chronicled back in December, Jason Avant is one of the most respected voices in the Eagles’ locker room.

DeSean Jackson called Avant a “big brother.” Cary Williams said every NFL team needs a guy like Avant on its roster. During the Riley Cooper incident last summer, it was Avant who stood in his teammate’s corner and preached forgiveness.

So it probably shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the veteran wide receiver is one of the players commissioner Roger Goodell is leaning on in the aftermath of the Wells report and the disaster down in Miami.

This from Peter King of The MMQB:

“Commissioner,’’ highly respected Philadelphia wide receiver Jason Avant told Goodell in a recent meeting, “we need you to set standards. We need you to make it black and white. We need standards, and if we don’t meet them, we shouldn’t be here.”

In the past 60 days, Goodell, I’m told, has met with more than 30 players, asking them how to make the locker room a more tolerant, more professional place. Players like Avant have told Goodell what he needs to hear. (He confirmed to me Sunday night that he asked Goodell to set standards for the players in the league, so publicly they’re not all painted with the Incognito brush.)

The last sentence there is an important one. While the one positive from the Dolphins situation is that there will be changes upcoming, it’s also unfair to assume every locker room has the same culture as the one in Miami with Richie Incognito, Jonathan Martin and others.

Mark Schlereth of ESPN.com played in the league for 12 years and had a poignant take on the situation:

But, in light of the Incognito/Martin story, people would have you believe that you have to be some raving lunatic to play in the NFL, wound so tightly that the slightest spark will insight an insatiable inferno. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

I’m 48 years old now and about the least confrontational person you’ll ever meet. My fists have never found purchase on the flesh of another man’s face. I’ve never been in a fight. If someone falls short of their obligation to our family, I have my wife call to rectify the situation because it makes me so uncomfortable. Yet I succeeded for many years in the trenches of the NFL, in which there are several confrontations on every play. It can be done — through focus, effort and discipline, not through unbridled rage and hair-trigger emotional outbursts.

Ex-player Matt Bowen offered the following:

And this from Packers offensive lineman TJ Lang:

Again, it’s dangerous to label this as an isolated incident because clearly changes need to be made. But several players also were as bothered by the incident as fans and media members.

NFL coaches and general managers will travel to Indianapolis this week and will hold press conferences on Thursday and Friday at the combine. Locker room culture and the situation in Miami will undoubtedly be a popular topic.

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    What a class act Avant is…if we draft a WR or two high, I hope we keep Avant for one more year to mentor them, but at a cheaper price of course

    • BleedGreenJames

      Totally agree. I love Avant and would love to see him stay, but not at the volume of snaps he saw last season.

      • BrickSquadMonopoly

        Get him out of here. I want football players his time is long past due. Geagle says he can block…lol……………

        • GEAGLE


  • DelcoBirds

    Avant is a great guy and a class act and should be a career Eagle, and the Eagles should keep him around, but not as the 3rd WR. Coach, adviser? What do you think?

    • DanFromDelcoo

      What if he wants to keep playing? He can come back when his career is over.

      • DelcoBirds

        I meant if he didn’t get any offers, if the Eagles release him. Yea, true if he wants to play and someone signs him, good for him. I think the Eagles can do better though at the #3 WR spot than Avant though.

        • GEAGLE

          We can Certainly do better then Avant as a #3 WR. If he won’t knock some dollars off that contract n restructure, then he has to go. He can’t make 3millipn this year. But if he wanted to restructure and stay I see no reason why we we wouldn’t want him as a #5 or a #6 next year..but his pay would have to reflect that. Avant,Chung and probably Casey better get ready to give back some money

      • Adam

        Love Avant, but his best bet is to stick it out here in my opinion. He’ll get the same role on any new team he goes to.. not a starter but first guy off the bench in the slot, character guy in the locker room. Can’t speak for him but I would like to finish my career where I started.

    • Engwrite

      Avant is better than any of the receivers in the team other than DeSean, Cooper and Maclin. On 3rd and ten, I’m looking for Mr. hands.

      • GEAGLE

        Upgrade Damaris and Maehl first. getting two new Quality WR in one offseason is already a lot. If we are ok with getting 3 or 4 new WR, then we can start saying good bye to Avant and Brad…easy to just say we need a new WR..we still have to compete with 31 teams for WRs..getting two in one offseason for me is the goal..anything extra is gravy,,,but hey feel free to upgrade all 6 WR, I won’t complain if they get 6 new WR better then the WR we have now, just don’t know how that would be possible..so in reality land, I’ll shoot for two..

        I would love d two rookie WR and maybe a cheap Ginn Type to boost our ST

        • DelcoBirds

          Agreed. And ST is the main reason why we can keep Avant on as a #4 or #5, those players have to play ST’s, and Avant I think only plays on the “hands” team for onside kicks. Or am I wrong about that?

          • Jernst

            IIRC Avant plats STs. Remember his killer block during Deseans punt return during Miracle at the Meadowlands 2?

  • Token

    If im Miami I start over. That whole staff would be wiped out. Dirtbags like Pouncy would be gone too. Its not like they are close anyway.

    • anon

      Hard to totally recreate a whole line in the offeason — but don’t think they have much choice.

      • GEAGLE

        Lol it’s messed up, but they really don’t have a choice but to redo that line. incognito, Jon Jerry(jerry sucks so might not even have a job next year) Pouncy and Martin all have to go. can’t think of the OT they have who is old as dirt…Miami has no choice but to get like 5 new OL, every position lol C,G.T and line coach hahaha sucks to be them.
        If Barr falls to 18, I’d jump Green Bay and Arizona and take advantage of Miami needing picks for OL and probably still being able to get one at 22…

        The one thing I don’t get is why is Phylbin still there? they already replaced a bunch of people, and now have to replace an entire line, might as well kick Phylbin to the curb too. They already have a problem where the QB can throw to anyone but their 60 million dollar WR lol…oh and they traded a 2nd round pick away so they could move up and draft a 3-4 OLB to play 4-3SAM….oh and they have 3 running backs, one suckier then the next

        Funny how Giants and Miami have similar roster problems..Giants can’t take Barr at 12. They need an OLine and a Dline..if they take Barr it would be just like Miami taking Dion to be a 4-3 Sam lol..Giants run game is also a joke..haha they would get more use out of Barr as a RB then a SAM

        • cliff henny

          bet miami hangs onto Pouncey. also, bet incognito ends up in Dallas. they have no money and will take on the risk.

          • GEAGLE

            Oooh incognito in Dallas is a pretty damn good call. They very well may keep Pounce, but they SHOULDNT!!!

    • reb

      TO was the perfect lesson in locker room cancers. Gotta excise them and find good people to replace them.

  • Max Lightfoot

    New respect for Mark Schlereth. Plus I hope we can keep Avant for another year – not the greatest YAC but great hands, and the man is a highly intelligent leader.