It took almost an entire year, but Nigel Bradham can finally just focus on football.
Earlier this month, the Eagles linebacker agreed to a deferred prosecution program that will keep him out of jail for a felony battery charge stemming from an incident in July 2016.
As long as Bradham follows the conditions of the program, which he said involves community service, he has finally put the incident behind him.
"It feels good, man," Bradham said on Thursday after the Eagles' first full-squad practice of training camp. "Just to be able to focus on football, not to have those words 'what could happen?' A lot of stuff being said out there. It's pretty good to get past that, man. Just be able to focus on football at training camp. No cloud over my head. Just keep my mind strong, just go out here and get better each day and get ready for this great season I'm about to have with my teammates."
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It was last July when Bradham was accused of assaulting 50-year-old Miami hotel employee Jean Courtois. An altercation allegedly arose from the length of time it took Courtois to bring Bradham and his friends their umbrella.
The trial was supposed to start in January, then it was pushed to April, then it was pushed to July. During that time, Bradham went through an entire NFL season and most of a whole offseason.
"The main thing is just staying focused on football and not having that cloud over my head," Bradham said.
Just because Bradham won't be behind bars, it doesn't mean the NFL will necessarily look the other way. Bradham said he isn't sure if there's still a chance he'll be disciplined by the league.
"I haven't heard anything as far as that aspect," he said. "But I'm just going to keep praying, man, and keep my head strong and just hope for the best through it all. A lot of good things have been happening so far, so just keep praying and hoping good things continue to happen."
Off the field, Bradham was a headache for the Eagles in 2016, but on the field, he was a bargain. In the first year of his two-year deal, Bradham played really well. In all, he was on the field for 97 percent of the Eagles' snaps and had 99 tackles, an interception, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
More importantly, he was a really nice complement to young stud linebacker Jordan Hicks.
What is Year 2 with both of them going to be like?
"Tremendously better," Bradham said. "It's really going to be something special. It's going to be a world of difference and we're both going to have incredible years because we play off each other and bring the energy off of each other. We feed off each other and stay communicating with each other and keeping the defense under control and having a controlled chaos out there. That's what it is."
This year, Bradham has a base salary of $3.5 million and a cap hit of $4.25 million. He's not oblivious to the fact that he's entering a contract year.
He wants to stay in Philly.
"Of course," he said. "I love the city. I love this team, the organization, my teammates. It is one of those years and you never know what happens. Just keep my head strong, man, and just keep grinding and continue to try to stay healthy and focused on having a great season. We'll see what happens."