Asante Rips Deion and Fine; Vick, Reid on Contract

Asante Samuel took offense to Deion Sanders' comments that he was the best 'off' corner in the league. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)

The irony of Asante Samuel being fined $40,000 for a hit was not lost on the Eagles' playmaking (and sometimes tackling-challenged) corner Wednesday.

"They don't pay me to tackle. Now they charging me to tackle," Samuel mused after reading the FedExed letter from the NFL pertaining to his collision Sunday with Giants wideout Derek Hagan.

Samuel, who leads the NFL with seven interceptions, missed practice yesterday, and his status for Sunday is up in the air because of a left knee injury suffered against the Giants.

Samuel said that his fine was originally $50,000, but Eagles coach Andy Reid called the league and lobbied on Samuel's behalf. (UPDATED: An Eagles spokesman said he did not believe this was the case. Attempts to contact the league have so far been unsuccessful.)

 Reid and Samuel contend -- and replays suggest -- that he led with his shoulder, then made secondary (and seemingly unavoidable) contact with his helmet, on Hagan's helmet.

"Whatever they want to do, basically. If they want to take a hundred (thousand), they can take a hundred, I guess," Samuel said. He said he will appeal the fine. He noted the league letter classified him as a "repeat offender" though he said he has never previously been fined for a hit. Samuel guesses maybe the preseason lick he laid on Kansas City's Dexter McCluster, Samuel blowing up a screen, factored against him, though Samuel was not penalized or fined that time.

Also, Asante is really mad at Deion Sanders, who ruffled No. 22's feathers by calling him the best "off" corner in the league, meaning that he plays off the receiver  -- which Samuel certainly seems to prefer to do.

"I would take that as an insult," Samuel said. "I would rather you tell me I'm not the best, or I'm the best. Anybody else pick a ball off or do some good things, he'd got something good to say."

 Samuel took to Twitter this morning with this: "@DeionSanders is the biggest hater in the world. He ain't no real FL boy he is a fake. FL boys keep it real. Men lie women lie numbers don't"

Sanders, now an NFL Network analyst, played corner much the same way Samuel does -- going for interceptions, not always looking to impress through tackling.

"If  I'm not getting the ball caught on me, 'off' or 'on,' what difference des it make?" Samuel asked.

Sanders responded to Samuel via Twitter late this afternoon.

"I just heard what A. Samuel said. 1st I like this kid and said he is the best off corner in the game. How is that hate?"

The Eagles are on the NFL Network next Thursday night so this could continue to get more interesting. Think Samuel will sit with Sanders for an interview for the pregame show?

Joselio Hanson will take Samuel's snaps in practice and probably would play if Samuel cannot, Andy Reid said.

With Ellis Hobbs on IR, Jorrick Calvin will return kickoffs, coach Andy Reid said. Two bobbles against the Redskins cost Calvin the return job; he said today he has renewed his focus on ball-safety fundamentals.

Newcomer Brandon Hughes will play corner and help on the special teams, if active. Hughes, given Sheldon Brown's old No. 24, can return kicks, but that is not why he was signed, Reid said.

Juqua Parker did not practice today with a hip flexor strain.


The NFL labor situation has affected the Eagles' situation with Michael Vick, Andy Reid said.

"There will be a time and place," Reid told reporters today. "When that needs to be addressed, it will be addressed. This is a crazy deal, the collective bargaining agreements and so on. We haven't really done anything with anyone. It's just a different year."

"It's not because of Michael's situation or his past," Reid continued. "He's making pretty good mony this year. It's about the way the league is going right now. It's hard to make those types of plans for the future."

Vick has previously expressed a desire to remain with the Eagles.He said today he isn't thinking of his contract, didn't seem resentful that the team hasn't addressed it.

"I'm not reallt concerned with that right now," Vick said. He said the matter "will take care of  itself, at the appropriate time.'

"I totally understand (the team's position). I'm going to keep playing and try to put myself in the best position I can possibly be in, and that'll take care of itself."

Reid was asked about the changes in perception of Vick. The questioner used the word "image," but Reid was careful to stress how genuine he believes Vick has been.

"He's learned from his mistakes and he's a better person for it. There can be an acting part to an image and I don't think you see any acting here. He's been doing things in the community every Tuesday, his day off and whenever else he can. He understands he made a huge mistake and the only way you can right that wrong is by giving back and helping and changing others to not make those mistakes. He's very humble about it. He's seen the highs and he's seen the lows."

In this week's Sports Illustrated cover story, Vick addresses the aftermath of the shooting at his birthday party in June in Virginia. Among the calls he made was to Reid, who blistered him for putting himself in a bad position.

"The one thing that I was proud of him for was that he made the call," Reid said today. "I thought it was an important step. I appreciate the trust that he had there. He didn't put me in positon to hear it second hand or anything else. What he told me was exactly what the police said. Those are things that build a trust between two people. honesty is an important factor."

As for Vick's health as he endures the grind of a season for the first time since his days with Atlanta, Reid said, "He feels healthy -- the normal bumps and bruises that you have during the season. He's doing well right now."


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