There's always a surprise or two, when Andy Reid runs down the various injuries and surgeries affecting players on the first day of minicamp each spring.
Today's revelations included the fact that guard Max Jean-Gilles underwent lap-band surgery on Tuesday in an effort to get his weight under control. Jean-Gilles said he should be completely OK to practice for the late May-early June OTAs. He hopes to lose 50 or 60 pounds, he said, after finishing last season around 385 and nudging the 400 barrier earlier this offseason.
Neither Reid nor Jean-Gilles was aware of any other active NFL player undergoing such a procedure.
"My wife and I just researched it, and we felt it would be the best alternative for losing the amount of weight I wanted to lose, in a small amount of time," said Jean-Gilles, who took part in some drills but observed much of Friday's workouts. "I'd like to weigh around 335 when the season starts." He said he weighs about 375 right now, and is consuming only clear liquids for the first week after the procedure.
Jean-Gilles, who is 6-3, said he has battled his weight all his life, but especially had trouble shedding it after a gain following ankle surgery last offseason.
"They put a tube on top of your stomach to make your stomach a little smaller," Jean-Gilles said. "I talked to some friends of the family who did it. It was a big difference in their life. They feel healthy, they feel confident in themselves. The weight comes off quick."
"I did it for now and in the future ... I didn't want to be 400 pounds after football, then have heart problems. I was almost, close to 4(00) and I said, 'oh man, I can't live like this.' I was breathin' heavy."
Jean-Gilles is a powerful blocker who has started 15 games because of other players' injuries the past two seasons. He has lacked agility, stamina and balance; the Eagles' media guide describes him as "burly."
Other minicamp snapshots:
*The Eagles still haven't said exactly what sort of knee surgery defensive end Victor Abiamiri underwent. Reid told reporters he would get trainer Rick Burkholder to explain the injury and surgery to them; Burkholder later said Reid had not told him to brief reporters on the matter. Doesn't sound as if Abiamiri will be on the field anytime soon, and the Eagles don't seem eager to divulge the details.
*Kevin Kolb said his first workout as the starting quarterback "was very good." I thought the tempo was great; it was just fluid throughout the day, and that was what we want to do."
"There is a lot of energy, more than I remember in the past," Kolb said as the Eagles tried to assimilate their largest draft class (13 players) since 1986. "I think the biggest key right now is to kind of settle us down a little bit and make sure we're out there mjust playing our game and not getting too caught up in it."
Kolb said "everything's different" when you take the field as the starter; you lead every drill.
*Reid said it was "good to see the young guys move around like they did ... So far, I like what I see."
*Reid said second-round rookie safety Nate Allen is being held out of these workouts while a quad he injured in predraft testing heals.
*Alex Hall, obtained from the Browns for Chris Gocong, is getting a shot at defensive end, after playing linebacker in Cleveland's 3-4.
*Starting strongside linebacker Moise Fokou said he was able to add about 10 pounds of muscle in the offseason, and reported at 238.
*As expected, right now Ernie Sims is your weakside starter.
*Fourth-round rookie quarterback Mike Kafka inherited the first locker on the left after you enter the room, formerly belonging to some guy from Syracuse. Kafka did not know this until a reporter told him; he vowed to check through all the drawers and cubbyholes, in case Donovan McNabb left behind anything valuable.
*Shawn Murphy, the OL the Eagles picked up off waivers from Tampa, didn't pass his physical and won't be joining the team.