The eighth-floor corner suite in the Eagles' team hotel seems a little snug for a guy Andy Reid's size, but the coach says he likes it, so much so that he asks for the same room every year at the NFL Scouting Combine. It has a decent view of a busy downtown Indianapolis street, but a visitor got the impression Reid spends a lot more time looking at the laptop screen perched on a coffee table, which at midday yesterday featured Oregon's defense against Arizona's offense.
Reid was chatty, even avuncular, but as is his wont, he had little to say that would generate headlines, in his first session with Philadelphia reporters since the day after the Eagles' season ended, in the NFC Championship Game.
Reporters from the Daily News and the Inquirer thought they might be getting a headline when Reid responded to a question about Donovan McNabb's desire for a sit-down with management by saying he has spoken with McNabb. But it quickly turned out that the coach was talking about, "Hi, how are you?" conversation, not the meeting McNabb envisions, which presumably would include team president Joe Banner and possibly chairman Jeffrey Lurie. Reid acknowledged that fact, while also maintaining that he does not especially need to clear the air with McNabb.
"He knows where he stands," Reid said. "We communicate."
Of course, McNabb is believed to be seeking a contract adjustment that would raise the stakes should Reid get the impulse to again bench, or possibly trade or release, his franchise QB. Reid had no comment on that.
McNabb's agent, Fletcher Smith, said that as of early afternoon Friday, he had not made contact with Eagles president Joe Banner. Smith was walking into the team hotel as he said this. "Oh, they're staying here?" Smith said to your Eagletarian, who, in fact, was born on Feb. 20th, but not on this particular Feb. 20th
Other highlights of Reid's remarks:
*Defensive coordinator Jim Johnson is back at work, following radiation treatment to shrink the melanoma tumor on his spine. Johnson is currently undergoing chemotherapy, Reid said, which prohibited him from traveling to Indianapolis. Reid said Johnson routinely waves off inquiries about his health with a crusty, "I'm fine," which he spices "with a few expletives." Reid said he currently plans for Johnson to be running the defense in minicamps.
*Reid said he expects some clarity on contract situations with pending free agent offensive tackle Tra Thomas and free safety Brian Dawkins before they hit the market Feb. 27. Translated, this would seem to mean Reid expects the Eagles will retain both players. Reid was noncommital about right tackle Jon Runyan, who is in the same situation but is coming off right knee microfracture surgery at 35. Reid agreed that microfracture surgery -- which tries to create cartilage where there is none -- is very serious.
*It did not escape Reid's notice that this week's flurry of signings and franchise taggings left the free agent market looking like a picked-over yard sale. The Birds have a lot of cap room and not much of quality out there to lavish it upon.
*Reid, not surprisingly, won't commit to the idea that the Eagles really need an offensive tackle high in the April 25 draft, in which they choose 21st and 28th in the first round. He emphasized that both left guard Todd Herremans and right guard Shawn Andrews can slide outside, if necessary. "I've got two guards that are pretty good tackles," he said. "That's why I brought them here. I drafted them as tackles."
Look for more detail in Saturday's Daily News.
And to see our previous Friday combine posting in which Mike Mayock rated the top of the offensive tackle class, click here.