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Nelson Agholor inactive for Eagles after 'mental battle' remarks

(AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
PHILADELPHIA -- Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor was inactive for Monday night's 27-13 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Coach Doug Pederson hinted last Monday that a break or reduced role could be in store for Agholor, who made some revealing comments about the "mental battle" he is dealing with when it comes to football, following a pair of miscues in a loss to the Seattle Seahawks last week.

"Sometimes you have to take a step back to take a step forward," Pederson said. "That way you can begin to clear your head."

Pederson had Agholor prepare to play all week without revealing -- at least publicly -- whether Agholor would be suiting up for Monday Night Football. He said he wanted to see how the 23-year-old responded in practice, "and can he handle a little adversity in his career?"

At the same time, he indicated that doing right by Agholor was the top priority.

"I don't want to expose him to anything that will hurt him there as an individual, as a human being," Pederson said. "Because I know this is also about life and about him as a person, and it's not so much about football anymore. And I want to make sure that Nelson is right as a person and as a human being, so if it means lessening the load, then I'll lessen the load and try to take a little off his plate."

With Agholor sitting, the Eagles had four receivers active:Jordan Matthews, Dorial Green-Beckham, Paul Turner and Bryce Treggs. Turner was signed off the practice squad early last week and was making his professional debut. The undrafted rookie out of Louisiana Tech became a fan favorite following a strong training camp and preseason.

Matthews injured his right ankle making a twisting catch in the second quarter. He briefly returned to start the third quarter before leaving the game for good.

Agholor, a former first-round pick out of Southern California, was whistled for an illegal formation against Seattle that negated a long touchdown by tight end Zach Ertz. On the following series, he dropped a well-placed pass from Carson Wentz over the middle.

"I've got to get out of my own head," Agholor said afterward. "Pressing so much and worried about so much. ... I'm thinking too much and so worried, and it's such a selfish thing that I need to stop. I need to give my energy to my teammates and this organization and not myself and feeling so pressured to make every single thing. Just have fun.

"I did it to myself. I started getting in my own head and just trying so hard to think about being perfect, and when miscues were there and they were exposed, I just let it eat at me."

He has 27 receptions for 264 yards and a touchdown this season. His drop rate of 8.3 percent is 10th-highest in the NFL, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Agholor said Pederson's approach the past week has been good for him.

"I think practice does that," Agholor said late last week, when asked whether he would make his case to Pederson that he should play.

"Just feeling free. He'll know. Body language will show that I'm free and I'm prepared. And at the end of the day, regardless of body language, I have to really feel it inside. I'm getting there, and I'm going to continue to get that way. I'm in a good place."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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