Move at tight end; Aikman as an Eagle; and more

The Eagles have released tight end Martin Rucker and added tight end Nate Lawrie.

Lawrie, 6-7, 255, was originally a sixth-round pick out of Yale by the Tampa Bay Bucaneers in 2004 and has been with five NFL franchises, including two stints with the Bucs and Bengals. He played in eight games with the Bengals in 2008. He also spent time with the Eagles in 2004 in the offseason.

For his NFL career, he has played in 17 games, with four receptions for 43 yards and a TD.

He spent last season with the Sacramento Mountain Lions, of the UFL, with 13 catches for 134 yards and a touchdown. 

Rucker was hampered by a hamstring injury in training camp. He signed with the Eagles last September and spent most of the season on the practice squad before being elevated to the 53-man roster in December. He did not appear in a game.


What could be worse than Donovan McNabb coming back to Philadelphia in the maroon and gold of the Washington Redskins? How about being a Cowboys fan and having Troy Aikman wearing Eagles midnight green?
Coulda happened.

During an interview with former Cowboys teammate Michael Irvin on Irvin's radio show on WQAM-AM out of Miami, Aikman confirmed the rumor that the Eagles had contacted him in 2002 to fill in for an injured McNabb. 

When the Birds couldn't persuade him out of the Fox broadcasting booth, they used A.J. Feeley and Koy Detmer at quarterback for six games, and McNabb made it back to play in two playoff games - against Atlanta and the gut-wrenching, devastating, we-shoulda-been-in-the-Super-Bowl loss to Tampa in the last game at Veterans Stadium.

Calling that game for Fox at the Vet was . . . drum roll, please . . . Troy Aikman.

In the interview that was transcribed by the Dallas Morning News for its website, Aikman told Irvin and his cohost, Kevin Kiley, that he thought about the offer from the Eagles, but he had mixed feelings about being on the sidelines when McNabb came back.

"I was a couple years out of the game at that time [having last played in December 2000]. Donovan McNabb had broken his leg. I'd gotten a call from the Eagles. They were wanting me to sign with them and then report to Philadelphia the next day and leave broadcasting," he told Kiley.

"I [could] go to Philadelphia for five or six games or whenever Donovan gets healthy again and then really kind of be done with football or I can continue in this job that I currently have that hopefully will be here for a long time."

Aikman opted for the booth. It seems he made the right decision.

"Well, I'm glad you didn't, Troy," Irvin quipped. "It would have hurt my feelings to see another guy catching those passes."

To which Aikman responded, "Oh, you were going to have to go with me. I was going to tell you that once I got signed."

Irvin and Aikman, Eagles? Say it ain't so, Roger Ruzek.


Odd sight after yesterday's morning practice: running back Mike Bell and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg walking out of the field house where the players dress to hold an animated private conversation on the sidewalk, Bell visibly upset, Mornhinweg assuming a calming, consoling posture. They finished with handshakes and shoulder bumps.

"I'm fine, nothing wrong," said Bell, who is working out with other injured players as he tries to come back from a hamstring pull. Mornhinweg was dismissive of the confab, as well.

The upshot? Bell has seen injuries derail him before, in Denver and New Orleans. In fact, he was off to an excellent start last season before suffering an MCL sprain near the end of a Week 2 Saints victory over the Eagles, in which Bell gained 86 yards on 17 carries. "My season never really was the same after that," Bell recalled when he signed with the Birds, in March.

So Bell apparently is worried about sitting on the shelf here while other running backs get the training-camp work. But the word is, the Eagles are not sweating his absence; they're willing to wait, don't want him to rush back and reinjure the hamstring. Bell will get an opportunity to show what he can do.


A few quotes of interest from Eagles players:

Quintin Mikell on the advantage of Sean McDermott having a full year as defensive coordinator: “He didn’t get a whole year to plan, he was kind of thrown in there, and then we lost all kinds of linebackers, we lost Dawkins, we got a lot of stuff that we had to just kind of fix on-the-run. And this is the first year that he’s had the whole offseason to plan and put everything together. And even our playbook is organized differently, everything is way different and I think that you’ll see the results of the change.”

Leonard Weaver on his role in leadership with so many young players on offense: "If you think about it, before I was here they had young guys and they still went to the playoffs, they still had playoff runs. I just think what Andy Reid has done, he develops a program where if young guys come in, they’re in and they’re going to be in a position where they can succeed. So, I think that’s what he does a good job of because we have young guys who have playoff experience from last year, who came in, and [WR] Jeremy Maclin is one of them, [WR] DeSean Jackson. So, we have guys out here who are young guys, but they’re veteran leaders.”

Stewart Bradley on the personalities of DeSean Jackson and Asante Samuel: “They’re great guys and fun to play with. They’re high volume guys and we like that. DeSean has a lot of fun trash-talking and stuff and that’s his personality. I think that’s the most important thing is that guys are honest and true to their personalities without trying to be something they’re not.”