Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Eagles add offensive linemen; Steve Smith update

With injuries suffered in Thursday's preseason game by offensive lineman King Dunlap and Fenuki Tupou, the Eagles have signed undrafted rookie free agent Spencer Johnson from Utah State and Joe Toledo, who has played with four teams since being drafted in 2006.

Eagles add offensive linemen; Steve Smith update

Joe Toledo, above, and Spencer Johnson were added to help the Eagles´ offensive line.  (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Joe Toledo, above, and Spencer Johnson were added to help the Eagles' offensive line. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

With injuries suffered in Thursday's preseason game by offensive lineman King Dunlap and Fenuki Tupou, the Eagles have signed undrafted rookie free agent Spencer Johnson from Utah State and Joe Toledo, who has played with four teams since being drafted in 2006.

Johnson, 6-7, 294, said he is excited about joining the Eagles, and especially about reuniting with his college teammate and close friend Curtis Marsh, who was drafted by the Eagles in the third round.

"It's been a dream of mine every since I was a little kid to play in the NFL. When I was little, I had hoped to be a basketball player, but then I realized that I couldn't shoot a basketball very well so that wasn't going to happen and I had to change my aspirations," Johnson said. "It is a great honor to play for a tremendous organization like the Philadelphia Eagles, plus I reunite with my best friend through college, Curtis Marsh. To be able to play football more is great, but to play with him makes it even better. I'm just excited to get up there and get to work."

Johnson was a four-year stalwart on the Utah State offensive line, with 39 career starts and 46 games played. He started eight games in 2010, hampered by an ankle injury. He started all 12 games in 2009, seven in 2008 and 12 as a freshman in 2007.

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Toledo was a fourth-round pick of Miami in 2006, and also has been with Seattle, Green Bay and San Francisco. He has never played in a regular-season game and has been hampered by injuries.

Dunlap was on the practice field Saturday.

**

The war of words between new Eagles wide receiver Steve Smith and Giants fans is continuing via Smith's Facebook page.

Smith has been attacked since signing with the Eagles, with racist comments, claims that he was overtaken by greed to sign with the Eagles and wishes that he get hurt.

Wrote Smith on Friday: "For those of you saying the giants offered me a 5 yr $35 million contract w/$15 million guaranteed before i got hurt- thats news to me bc if that happened i would have signed it and done back flips on my way to practice !! u should also check out these 2 articles as i think the comments on the bottom of them say a lot.. thx again to those supporting me"

The two articles are links to his agent saying the Giants were never promised the right to match an offer he would receive from another team and the comments from Tom Coughlin that suggested the Giants would.

As for when Smith will be ready to practice with the Eagles following microfracture surgery on his knee in December, coach Andy Reid said Thursday night that he was not sure, but mentioned the possibility of three weeks. The Eagles placed Smith on the Physically Unable to Perform list Saturday, but indications are the team believes he could be ready for the opener.

“He had a small micro fracture, but all of his ligaments and cartilage was intact," Reid said. "The knee is very stable, and he’s had no swelling in his knee throughout the whole process. He’s been running, and he started running routes this past week. We’re just going to bring him back slowly and see what he can do. We’ll get him in a formal rehab with [head trainer] Rick [Burkholder] and we’ll just see exactly where he’s at. It could be three weeks….I don’t know. I have to see how he does here. We know he’s a fine football player, and we just need to get his leg where it needs to be.”

**

Along with signing the two offensive linemen, the Eagles released defensive tackles Brandon Collier with an injury settlement, and Charles Noonan. Quarterback Jerrod Johnson also was released.

**

The Eagles visit Pittsburgh on Thursday for the second preseason game. The Steelers lost to Washington, 16-7, last night in their preseason opener, and were not terribly happy about how they played.

"It is not the kind of performance that we were looking for or hoping for tonight," coach Mike Tomlin told reporters afterward. "Quite frankly, we got outplayed in just about all areas – blocking, tackling, running, throwing, kicking. Their team was better prepared tonight than us. They showed it, we accept that and I look forward to this group responding to what we put out there tonight. I understand that we have a lot of ground to cover, but such is life. I’ll expect these guys to respond accordingly. We’ll go back to work, we’ll assess this performance and it needs to be better quickly.”

Added linebacker James Farrior: "We just didn't show up today."

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