The New Orleans Saints brought Malcolm Jenkins into the league when they drafted him in the first round in 2009, but the Philadelphia Eagles safety was caught flipping off his old head coach Sean Payton on Sunday during a 48-7 loss.
"I'm a competitor," Jenkins told NBC Sports Philadelphia's John Clark (h/t Enrico Campitelli of NBC Sports Philadelphia) when describing the play. "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 went on to say he talked with the New Orleans coach after the game and understood where he was coming from when he elected to go for it on fourth down while up 31 points in the fourth quarter. That decision—and Alvin Kamara's 38-yard touchdown catch on the play—prompted Jenkins' gesture.
"I think the world of him. He's a tremendous player," Payton said of Jenkins, per Tim McManus of ESPN.com. "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 spent the first five seasons of his career on the Saints and won a Super Bowl as a rookie.
He also won a Super Bowl last season with the Eagles, but a repeat seems like a long shot after a 4-6 start. The Ohio State product addressed his team's poor play after the game, per McManus.
"[Being] winners of the Super Bowl last year doesn't win you a goddamn game this year," Jenkins said. "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."
Philadelphia may not be a Super Bowl contender, but New Orleans is after moving to 9-1. It already beat the 9-1 Los Angeles Rams and is in position to clinch home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs if it keeps winning.
Don't expect Payton to let up on the aggressiveness, either, if Sunday was any indication.