MIAMI (July 29, 2005) -- Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Jerome McDougle was shot in the stomach by armed robbers, police said July 29. The team said he was in good condition after surgery.
He originally was listed in critical condition. However, Derek Boyko, the Eagles' director of media operations, said McDougle had spoken to police, who said the player was able to walk on his own.
"Our understanding is that Jerome is in good condition after undergoing surgery," the team said in a statement. "At this time, we are still in the process of gathering the facts of his situation. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jerome and his family."
McDougle, who played at the University of Miami and is a South Florida native, had been scheduled to be in the team's camp Aug. 1, the reporting date for Eagles' veterans. Rookies reported July 29.
McDougle, 27, was airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center, where he underwent the surgery.
Three armed robbers approached McDougle in his silver Mercedes coupe late July 28, police said.
With their faces covered, the suspects demanded that he hand over his property, then one of them shot McDougle in the stomach, police said. Police said the robbers weren't didn't say what property they wanted.
McDougle opened the door and tried to get out of the car, but another robber fired two shots, which police said missed him and hit the inside of the door.
The robbers, who police said were likely teens, fled on foot and remain at large. It wasn't clear whether McDougle was in his car or near it when he was approached, police said.
McDougle was a first-round pick in 2003, but has been plagued with injuries in Philadelphia. In two seasons, he had 18 tackles in 19 games, including two sacks.
In Albany, N.Y., where the New York Giants reported for training camp, McDougle's former Miami teammate, Jeremy Shockey, said he believed his friend had been poised for a breakout season in 2005.
"He's definitely worked hard this offseason," Shockey, the Giants' tight end, said. "He's preparing to have a big year and something like this happens. All you can do is pray for him, hope the best comes out."
Shockey also indicated that it's not uncommon for Miami players, or other athletes, to be targets in tough neighborhoods.
"You've just got to be careful where you go and what you (are) seen wearing and everything like that. ... I don't really wear jewelry. I don't really dress up with diamonds. I try to stay out of bad neighborhoods," Shockey said.
McDougle had 114 tackles and 14 sacks in two seasons at Miami, was a first-team Big East player in each of his two seasons at the school, and was a second-team All-American in 2002.
In a statement, Miami coach Larry Coker said the school's "football family was shocked to hear" of the shooting. "He and his family are in our thoughts and prayers," Coker said.