Geoffrey Chaucer never played quarterback for the Eagles, though he did fight in The Hundred Years War, which might be kind of the same thing. Chaucer is attributed with observing that "many a true word is said in jest."
So it seemed Wednesday, when Donovan McNabb endured a long sparring match with a super-sized, playoff media contingent in his weekly news conference, in which the quarterback declined to be baited into once again discussing his feelings about having been benched for that half in Baltimore, or into discussing his feelings about his contract. Then McNabb was asked a final question, about the struggles of the Giants' defense down the stretch.
"Sometimes during the course of the year, you don't play as well as you did early on," McNabb said. "None of them got benched."
He was smiling broadly as he said this, and then he left the stage, to startled laughter.
That quip was the highlight of the morning media session, which also inlcuded the news that Eagles defensive end Victor Abiamiri (foot) has been medically cleared and was scheduled to practice Wednesday, presumably making him likely to return to the rotation Sunday against the Giants. Right guard Shawn Andrews also got medical clearance and also was to practice, though Eagles coach Andy Reid said Andrews will not be active for this week's divisional round playoff game at the Meadowlands.
Fullback Dan Klecko, who suffered a shoulder injury against Minnesota, was not scheduled to practice. It seems likely that Kyle Eckel will start in Klecko's spot.
The Eagles also have signed a cornerback, Dimitri Patterson, formerly of the Chiefs and Redskins. He takes the roster spot of offensive lineman Mike McGlynn, who was placed on IR after tearing a hamstring against the Vikings. Since the Eagles have no real need for another corner right now, and it's unlikely Patterson is going to learn Jim Johnson's defense during the playoffs, it's likely they are looking to 2009, and wanted to get the guy on their roster before someone else signed him.
McNabb had another funny line, when someone asked him about the Birds making the cover of Sports Illustrated, which refers to them as "dangerous." McNabb noted that in the West, the Cardinals are on the cover.
"It's a regional copy. Everybody's dangerous," McNabb said.
Brian Westbrook said even though the Birds are facing the Giants for the third time this season, he expects new wrinkles, with New York coming off a bye.
"Anytime you have two weeks before you play somebody, you're going to bring something new," Westbrook said.