The Eagles were driven off the practice field by lightning, ending a downright chilly, damp morning workout at Lehigh. Asante Samuel practiced; Shawn Andrews did not.
Nobody was treated for heat exhaustion Monday at Eagles training camp. Frostbite, maybe, but not heat.
A chilling breeze swirled through the fog, and temperatures briefly dropped into the 50s at Lehigh, after monitoring devices the team uses to warn of lightning in the area went off at 9:40 a.m.. Practice ended abruptly, an hour early, and players sprinted into the fieldhouse where they dress, looking like kids who had just heard the final bell on the last day of school. Fans, looking less thrilled, also scurried as sheets of ran fell, along with temperatures.
Actually, the last day of school is Wednesday morning, when the team assembles briefly before roaring out of the Lehigh Valley in a caravan of luxury sedans, oversized pickups that could ford rivers, and pimped-out SUVs. Players will return to kith and kin when preseason workouts resume following Thursday's home game against Carolina.
Incredibly, cornerback Asante Samuel still hasn't completed a training camp workout and still hasn't held a news conference, two things that were supposed to happen fairly frequently back when veterans convened on July 24. The Eagles planned to put their $57 million free-agent prize into the regular media tent rotation, along with Andy Reid, his three coordinators, and players Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook and Brian Dawkins, but Samuel injured his hamstring in the very first workout.
The Eagles generally don't make injured players available to the media, so Samuel's news conferences were put off until his return. Which kept getting postponed. Finally, on Sunday, Samuel practiced, but he left the session before it ended, apparently not feeling great, and the media session was canceled again.
So Monday was going to be the day. Reporters honed their questions. After all this time, "How's your hamstring?" just wasn't going to cut it. We knew we would have to dig deeper.
"Asante, assuming from your name that you are somehow connected with the Asante people of Southern Ghana, what do you make of the legend of the Golden Stool?"
Or, on a less obscure level, "Asante, how many times a day do you think about that Eli Manning pass on the final drive of February's Super Bowl, the one that would have clinched the Patriots' unbeaten season and changed so many things?"
Alas, team spokesman Derek Boyko brought out defensive coordinator Jim Johnson, as the storm built, but Boyko said it wasn't safe to conduct any further interviews in the media tent. And apparently, there was no other suitable facility for a news conference at Lehigh, so Samuel's appearance was pushed back yet again, along with those of Dawkins and McNabb.
Boyko said Shawn Andrews is doing conditioning work and going to meetings. Andrews, who came to camp Sunday after missing more than two weeks, has said he is being treated for depression. Boyko said Andrews will not be available to speak to reporters until he practices, and there is no sense yet of when that will be, he said.
Johnson left no doubt that he feels it is time for Samuel to get some regular work in with his new teammates. He said the plan is for Samuel to start Thursday's game. Johnson said Sheldon Brown would be the rightside starter, instead of Lito Sheppard, if the Birds don't come out in a nickel defense. The team's depth chart for the game against Carolina lists Sheppard as Brown's backup on the right side, with Joselio Hansen listed on the left side behind Samuel.
Johnson liked what he saw in Friday's night's preseason opener from defensive end Jerome McDougle and linebacker Akeem Jordan, he said. The new helmet headsets for defensive signals worked without a hitch, he said.