Philly fans drown the draft in river of boos

Rob Maaddi
Associated Press

Philadelphia — The City of Brotherly Love turned a boring event into an entertaining show.

About 100,000 vocal fans gave everyone what they wanted and expected from Philadelphia: Boos!

Tired of hearing about tossing snowballs at Santa Claus 49 years ago or how they cheered Michael Irvin’s career-ending injury in 1999, Philly fans let everyone have it during the second and third rounds of the NFL draft Friday night.

They booed NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, of course, whenever he popped on stage. They jeered Cincinnati’s selection of Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon and even Cleveland’s pick of Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer.

But former Cowboys receiver Drew Pearson stole the show and earned the loudest boos of all.

Pearson began with: “How ’bout them Cowboys!” He then trolled fans by thanking them “for allowing me to have a career in the NFL” and bragging about the “five-time world champions.”

Pearson pumped his fist and screamed over the boisterous crowd to announce Dallas’ second-round pick: Colorado cornerback Chidobe Awuzie.

He said Goodell encouraged him to talk about the Cowboys-Eagles rivalry.

“It was fun,” Pearson said.

After that, it seemed every team representative tried to incite louder boos.

Former Washington linebacker London Fletcher told fans he expected more “for as many hits as I put on your running backs and receivers.”

Former Giants linebacker Jessie Armstead raised both fists in the air to show off two Super Bowl rings. So he heard it, too.

Almost every pick that wasn’t related to the Eagles got booed.

An estimated crowd of 100,000 people gathered on Thursday and many were back for the second night.

They turned the Art Museum area into a giant tailgate party, chanting “E-A-G-L-E-S!” and singing “Fly, Eagles, Fly!”

Eagles long snapper Jon Dorenbos drew a rousing ovation when he announced the team’s third-round pick and declared Eagles fans were the best in the country. They also cheered when the team selected injured Washington cornerback Sidney Jones in the second round.

The Huskies secondary saw three members — cornerbacks Kevin King and Jones and safety Budda Baker — taken in the first 11 picks.

King, one of five players who were on hand and were not taken in the opening round, went to Green Bay with the first pick of the night and talked about learning from Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and wanting to earn a gold, Hall of Fame jacket.

The most notable selection occurred when the Bengals took Mixon at No. 48 overall. Mixon was uninvited to the scouting combine because he was videotaped punching a woman in the face, breaking bones. He hit Amelia Molitor during an altercation at a restaurant, and was suspended from the team for a year.

Mixon came back and had two strong seasons. In 2016, he was an All-Big 12 performer who set the school record for all-purpose yardage in a season.

Fans in the draft theater booed lustily when Bengals Hall of Famer Anthony Munoz announced the choice. Cincinnati has a history of bringing players with off-field problems to the roster.

“For some of our fans, probably (they’ll) pause for a second,” Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said. “But this thing’s got to move forward, and he’s got to move on. He’s lived with this since the day it’s occurred.”

Another running back who dropped to Round 2 was Florida State All-American Dalvin Cook. He slipped from the first round because of off-field issues and some injury concerns. Cook fills the void created by Adrian Peterson’s departure.

Cleveland finally got its quarterback at No. 52 with Kizer. The Browns have started 26 quarterbacks since 1999, when they returned as an expansion team.