Eagles coach Andy Reid has been silent on Brian Dawkins' departure, opting instead to issue a statement through the team's public relations department. Reid, and all NFL coaches, are scheduled to meet with the national media next week at the league's annual meetings in Dana Point, Calif.
Before then, the coach expressed his point of view via an interview with Dave Spadaro on the team's Web site. This is the first of several portions of a 30-minute session that Spadaro indicates will be posted over the next several days.
Reid told Spadaro that offseason has gone according to plan, even with the departure of several longtime members of the team, including Dawkins and Tra Thomas.
"We made some changes with a few of the guys who had been around here for a long time and who did just a great job for us for a number of years, but we also feel like we have an influx of young guys that have been able to mature and that deserve an opportunity to play. In some cases, they might have to move a position or so to do that, but we should be as strong, if not stronger, as we were the year before."
A few excerpts, and then the link at the bottom:
DS: What is your account of Brian Dawkins and his departure?
AR: "What a great job Brian Dawkins did here. He was phenomenal over the years and he is a great person. His legacy is solid with the Philadelphia Eagles. He is a Hall of Fame player. It didn't work out. Those things happen. You see them throughout the league and you've seen them throughout the history of the league. I wish him nothing but the best of luck in Denver. On our side, we feel like we've groomed Quintin Demps to step in and fill that position. If that doesn't work out, we've signed a couple of free agents in Sean Jones and Rashad Baker that we think are good football players. Are any of them Brian Dawkins? Well, no, it's not fair to compare any of them to Brian right now. But they are young guys who have the opportunity to try and strive to be as good Brian has been."
DS: If they aren't as good as Brian, why not keep Brian before he gets into free agency?
AR: "That's a good question. We did make an attempt and it didn't work out. Obviously, he got a phenomenal deal from the Broncos. That is all part of this business and that's what Brian did and that's what we did. Like they say, the sun comes up every day and the NFL season comes around every year. Brian is getting ready to do his thing with the Broncos and we're getting ready to do our thing."
DS: Fans see a team that has enough room under the salary cap to do whatever it wants in terms of acquiring players. The approach seems to be more conservative. Can you explain the approach so far in the off-season?
AR: "You can say it's a conservative approach or you can just say it's smart. People are hesitant to say that, but … Because you have the money, you just don't go blow it on something that you don't think is good enough quality to put on the Eagles uniform. That can be perceived different ways. We're going to try to bring in the right people here and do the right things in free agency that we feel are best for this football team. That's the way we have approached and I think that's the way you have to approach it."
DS: Can you explain where the team is with Donovan McNabb and the reported meetings that you had and his contract situation?
AR: "I talk to Donovan often and I try to keep him informed of the things going on here. He's earned that right to know those things over the last 10 years. We're good. I think Don is just getting ready – he had been coming in every day since the season ended and working out and he just left recently for Arizona to continue his workouts – for a big season.
"We have talked to Donovan and we have kept open communication with him. I'm going to keep the content of that communication private."
To read the interview at philadelphiaeagles.com, click here.
To read Les Bowen's commentary on the interview, click here.