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Shaun Bradley Developing Into Special Teams Standout

The Eagles second-year linebacker is making a difference on special teams

PHILADELPHIA - Nick Sirianni hit the stump Friday, sneaking in the Eagles’ makeshift interview tent at the NovaCare Complex while special teams ace Shaun Bradley was addressing the media.

The Eagles coach brought with him a message.

“Vote this guy for Pro Bowl right here,” Sirianni said. “He leads the NFL in freakin’ special teams tackles.”

Like most stump speeches in politics, Sirianni was embellishing but not much.

The second-year player out of Temple via South Jersey’s Rancocas Valley High School is tied for the NFC lead in special team tackles with 10 and is second overall in the league.

One of those tackles amped up the Eagles’ sideline during the 30-13 rout of Denver when Bradley leveled Broncos returner Diontae Spencer.

"To play this game, you've got to have some sort of edge to you, and Shaun has that edge," Eagles’ special team coordinator Michael Clay said earlier this week. "... We really rely on Shaun because he does bring great energy every day. Shaun is the same person every day.

“And just having conversations with him throughout the offseason and preseason and just seeing the athletic ability, I mean, you saw on that punt coverage rep, he ate up a lot of ground real fast and he had a good hit on the returner.”

More so, Bradley has had a hand in the Eagles’ two statement plays on Clay’s units: the T.J. Edwards blocked punt at Carolina and K’Von Wallace’s field-goal snuff in Denver.

It was Bradley who beat the long snapper and occupied the personal protector for Edwards against the Panthers and the former sixth-round pick tied up multiple blockers to give Wallace a clear path vs. the Broncos.

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“The best thing about Shaun is he's not getting outside of his own body to get these plays,” Clay said. “He's doing everything we ask. He's staying disciplined. He's just getting out there and making a heck of a play in the coverage and the blocking phases. So, it's all kudos to Shaun, really, taking advantage of this role that he has."

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Bradley, of course, has aspirations to be a starting linebacker but is being patient as he continues to develop behind starters T.J. Edwards and Davion Taylor as well as veteran Alex Singleton.

“It’s just taking what you have to do for the team and enhancing on it,” Bradley said after practice Friday. “I’m just trying to be better and better at everything they give me. If special teams is all I’m gonna do, I’m locked in on that and that’s what I’m gonna do.”

Clay, the youngest STC in the NFL at the age of 30, has been a big help to Bradley.

“That’s my guy,” Bradley said. “Since he’s got here he’s been a great help. Even when I’m being good, he’s constantly on me. You know, you can fix these kinds of things, you can do this, you can do that so it’s been a real, real help. I talk to him all the time. He’s a great football coach.”

The admiration society is reciprocal.

"Shaun's just been outstanding, and he wants to be great at whatever we ask him to do on special teams,” said Clay. “And he's been doing a heck of a job for us. Obviously, he's tied in the NFC for the most special teams tackles. And he takes pride in that. He wants to do it. He wants to go out there. He wants to make plays.

-John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John, alongside legendary sports-talk host Jody McDonald every morning from 8-10 on ‘Birds 365,” streaming live on both PhillyVoice.com and YouTube. John is also the host of his own show "Extending the Play" on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at jmcmullen44@gmail.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen

Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglemaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.