Jeremiah Trotter told a conference call with reporters Tuesday that a few months after the Eagles released him in 2007, he started having dreams in which he was playing for them again.
"I woke up, I was thinking I was crazy," he said. "I actually told a couple people ... it sounded crazy then. It sounds crazy now."
But he isn't dreaming. One day after his second workout at the NovaCare complex, the Eagles announced they have brought back Trotter for his third tour of duty at middle linebacker. To make room, the Birds released quarterback Jeff Garcia.
Trotter, still just 32, said he feels he has "at least three years left." though for the time being, his contract is a one-year deal, for the veteran minimum.
Trotter said he feels he is here "to play physical, to play downhill, and disrupt things; that's what I like to do."
Trotter said he feels he ought to be able to contribute "the first game" -- presumably, Oct. 11 against Tampa. "How much, that's hard to say. It's going to take some time to run around in those full pads and get in game shape," he said.
"At some points, like last year, when I was sitting at home ... I was like, 'should I give it up and start something else. Something just kept telling me to work out," he said.
“Jeremiah Trotter has always been one of my favorite players,” coach Andy Reid said in a statement. “He has worked very hard to keep himself in shape and we are pleased with where he is physically. We are excited to give him an opportunity to contribute to our football team.”
Trotter told the Daily News on Monday the second workout went “two to three times better” than last week’s initial workout, in which Reid said Trotter seemed more agile than he was when the Birds released him, 25 months ago.
Trotter, a four-time Pro Bowl linebacker for the Eagles, arrived as a third-round draftee in 1998, then left early in 2002 to sign with the Washington Redskins as a free agent after a nasty salary dispute. He returned in 2004 and helped the team get to the Super Bowl.
After being released again in 2007, he signed with Tampa Bay but played in only three games<NO1>cq<NO> that season and hasn’t been on an NFL roster since.
Trotter said Monday that arthroscopic knee surgery in 2008 restored lost mobility. “To say my knee is better is an understatement,” he said.
He indicated that in the second workout the Eagles wanted to get a feel for his lateral movement. He said he worked against a pass receiver — “one of the rookies” — in coverage. “Obviously, I didn’t have any blockers in front of me, but the feedback I got, it went very well,” he said.
Omar Gaither’s development was one of the reasons the Eagles were comfortable letting Trotter go in 2007. But Gaither eventually lost the middle linebacking job to Stewart Bradley, who went down with a torn anterior cruciate ligament early last month. Gaither led the Eagles with seven solo tackles in Sunday’s 34-14 victory over the Chiefs, a circumstance Gaither called “a coincidence.” Last week, Gaither said he had no comment on Trotter’s possible return.
In the conference call, Trotter said he had talked to Gaither and there were no hard feelings. "Omar and I, we'll help each other out," he said.
At 6-2, 262, Trotter would be the Birds’ biggest linebacker; several former teammates said last week they felt Trotter could help them stop the run.
The Eagles confirmed they conducted a workout today for defensive end Marcus Howard, first reported by the National Football Post.
Howard was a fifth-round draft pick of the Indianapolis Colts in 2008 and played in nine games. He was released in the final roster cutdown and does not have any practice-squad eligibility remaining. An Eagles source said Howard will not be signed at this time.
He had 1.5 sacks and seven tackles on defense as a rookie, and also had eight special-teams tackles.
Howard also recently tried out for the Houston Texans, the report said.
Howard, a converted linebacker, is noted for his speed, running a 4.45 at the 2008 combine, fastest for a linebacker.
At Georgia, he led the SEC with 10.5 sacks as a senior.
The Eagles currently have six defensive ends on the roster, but Jason Babin has been inactive for two of the three games. He was active against the Saints because Victor Abiamiri was nursing an injury. Abiamiri ended up playing.
Apparently, Gratz product and current Boston Celtic Rasheed Wallace was at Sunday's game, wearing a Derrick Thomas jersey and rooting for the Chiefs.
Picture this: NBA player Rasheed Wallace, a Derrick Thomas jersey and a prosthetic leg. That was the scene in the lobby Sunday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field. Wallace, wearing a No. 58 Chiefs jersey, tossed a man’s prosthetic leg back and forth.
Odd. But at least it distracted Wallace from the loss, particularly considering the unlikely Chiefs fan has been following the team for 15 years.
“That’s been my team since 1994,” Wallace said, “when we got Joe.”
The Chiefs actually traded for quarterback Joe Montana a year earlier than that, and reached the AFC championship game after the 1993 season.
To read our earlier post from today, click here.