NEW ORLEANS — Malcolm Jenkins‘ return to the Superdome on Sunday was filled with frustration, which spilled over both during the Philadelphia Eagles‘ 48-7 loss to the New Orleans Saints and afterward in his postgame comments.
Cameras caught Jenkins giving his former head coach Sean Payton the finger after the Saints went for it on fourth-and-6 early in the fourth quarter with the Saints up by 31 points. Alvin Kamara beat Jenkins on the play for a 37-yard touchdown.
“I’m a competitor. I love Sean to death. I know what type of guy and coach he is. That was more so personal between me and him,” Jenkins told NBC Sports Philadelphia.
“We talked after the game. It’s all good. I know Sean. They’re going to go for it. I was more so upset that it was on me.”
Payton explained that he wasn’t comfortable electing for a field goal try from that distance, and he didn’t want to get burned by not keeping the foot on the gas with almost a full quarter left. He heaped unsolicited praise on Jenkins during his postgame news conference.
“I think the world of him. He’s a tremendous player,” Payton said. “I hate that he got out of here. That was probably as big a mistake as we’ve made here in 13 years. He’s made up of all the right things, and he’s a tremendous competitor.”
Jenkins was clearly unhappy after the game. Usually the last one to leave the locker room, he exited without speaking to the media. A couple reporters caught up with him in the tunnel. The normally expansive Jenkins was short and in some cases sharp in his responses.
“[Being] winners of the Super Bowl last year doesn’t win you a goddamn game this year,” Jenkins said when asked about the team’s poor play following a title run. “So when you look at what we’ve done all year, our record is reflective of how we’ve played. It’s as simple as that. There’s nothing confusing about it. Just turn on the tape, and watch. You get what you put in.”
Jenkins was a first-round pick by the Saints in 2009. He won a Super Bowl as a rookie and played in New Orleans for five seasons before leaving for the Eagles in free agency in 2014.