Eagles out on Joe Mixon? Coach calls character guys 'wave of the future'

PHOENIX -- The Philadelphia Eagles need a running back and have taken risks on players with character concerns in the past.

Given those two factors, could they be a potential landing spot for Joe Mixon?

Two of the team leaders -- owner Jeffrey Lurie and head coach Doug Pederson -- faced this line of questioning at the NFL owners meetings this week. While they couched their responses, the takeaway is that they would be hesitant to bring Mixon into the fold.

"I'll say this: We've been an organization that's given players a second chance," Lurie said. "However, we've also been an organization that really values character, OK?"

"We're always trying to better our roster; I've said that a bunch," Pederson added. "With a player like that, those are things that, we do our homework on these players and you want to make sure it's the right fit, for any team, not only our team. ... He's an explosive player, he's dynamic, and I know that someone will give him an opportunity."

There is some sentiment within the building, however, that it might be best for that opportunity to come elsewhere.

In 2014, Mixon punched a woman at a bar, breaking four bones in her face. The incident was caught on camera and released to the public in December. He accepted a plea deal and was suspended for his freshman year at Oklahoma.

The Eagles are still in the early stages of what they hope will be a championship build. They are dedicated first and foremost to protecting young quarterback Carson Wentz by surrounding him with the right personnel and the right people. Add in the fact that they have a rather green coach in Pederson and play in one of the largest media markets in the country, and it's easy to see why they would have some reservations about handling all that would come along with drafting Mixon.

Asked about the importance of having character guys on the team, Pederson said: "I think that's sort of the wave of the future."

"I just think that you see so much in society today with all the social media," he explained, "with all the issues that players or the nation has, and you're looking for guys that have passion, one, for the game, but they also have a passion for just being good, upstanding human beings."

Likely to release veteran back Ryan Mathews, the Eagles need to add to a running back mix that currently includes Wendell Smallwood and Darren Sproles. Mixon averaged 6.8 yards per carry at Oklahoma, racking up 2,027 rushing yards and 17 rushing TDs in two seasons. While an undeniable talent, the Eagles could join some other teams around the league in taking him off their board.

"It's tough because you're always looking for guys that can fit into your system," said Pederson of the balance between ability and character concerns. "You're always looking to add talent to your roster but at the same time, you've got to make sure you're doing your homework on the players, whether it's free agency or the draft, that they're the right fit for you."