Eagles add safety, release South Jersey product

UPDATED: The Eagles have signed rookie agent safety Brandon Harrison, from Michigan, and released South Jersey product Rashad Baker, who was signed as a free agent from Oakland. Harrison will practice today with the Eagles and wear No. 45.

We also have posted an item that the Eagles, Steelers and Pennsylvania Lottery have worked out an arrangement for a new scratch-off game available today. Click here for that story.

From earlier ...

The Eagles defense has suffered injuries along the defensive line; it has suffered injuries at linebacker. But the Birds remain largely intact in the defensive backfield, although than Asante Samuel missed some time early in camp and Sheldon Brown was a limited participant yesterday.

Strong safety Quintin Mikell, emerging as the defensive leader, was asked whether this group is the deepest he has been a part of.

“I would say so," he said. "It’s funny because we have a lot of young guys, but if you look up and down the board we have a lot of guys that can make plays and we have a lot of speed. It’s just a matter of how we come together, how we gel. We could be as good as we want to be but it’s all on paper, it’s all potential. It depends on how much we work and how well we gel together. I think that we can do some good things but it’s still early.”

There seems to be a potential position battle at free safety between Quintin Demps and Sean Jones, although Demps clearly has the upper hand. Mikell did say there are some packages that call for three safeties.

“[Demps is] definitely stepping into some big shoes and he’s excited for that role," Mikell said. "He’s been playing fast and he’s been playing aggressive. None of us are perfect, we’ve all made mistakes and he’s working through those things and he’s getting better each day. Sean Jones is the same way. He’s a big body. He’s been proven to make plays in this league, so we know what he can do. It’s just going to take time for him to get more comfortable in the system and then he’ll be fine.”

The depth among the defensive backs could lead to a potential change for Rashad Baker, although what that means for the moment is a mystery.

Baker, the free-agent safety from Camden who the Eagles signed in the offseason, did not practice yesterday, and his nameplate and number had been removed from the locker room.

A team spokesman, asked to look into the matter, reported back that he had been told to say Baker was "still on the roster."

At the Monroe Township, Gloucester County, home where Baker lives, his stepfather, Ronald Fussell, said Baker's status with the Eagles had not changed.

"He's over at a friend's house," Fussell said, erroneously adding, "He was at practice today."

A large car-hauler pulled up to the house, and people went in and out of a white Cadillac Escalade that Fussell said belonged to Baker. At 9 p.m., the man driving the car-hauler said he was taking the Escalade to Miami.

Baker's agent, South Jersey-based Al Irby, said he had not been able to contact his client or get an explanation from the team.


Some injury notes

Linebacker Omar Gaither (knee) did not practice. Cornerback Sheldon Brown (ribs) was a limited participant, but running back Brian Westbrook took part in the entire workout, for the first time this training camp. Today Westbrook is scheduled for his first news conference since the end of last season . . . Shawn Andrews was in Los Angeles to be examined by Dr. Robert Watkins, who performed back surgery on Andrews last season. Andrews has not practiced since his back tightened up during a fitness run early on in training camp.

More on Vick

We heard more from Donovan McNabb yesterday about the Eagles' signing of Michael Vick. Here is Andy Reid on McNabb's role inthe Vick signing from Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback:

"So many of the old guys are gone now," Reid said. "Donovan is taking it upon himself to do something that he feels is best for the team and best for Michael. I'm telling you, this is totally on the level. He wants Michael here, and he wants him to succeed. Donovan is being the best big brother in the world."

Reid went on. "This all started with Donovan. And when the other leaders of the team saw Donovan embracing him and embracing the idea here the last couple of days, they followed him, and they embraced Michael too. They brought him into the family."

The "60 Minutes" Interview

Here is a link to a video with CBS Sports' James Brown talking about his interview with Michael Vick.


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