One minute, it was a slightly boring, back-down-to-business, first day of real preparation for the season opener.
Then, suddenly, it was 2005 again.
Reporters wanted to know Wednesday how Sheldon Brown felt about Drew Rosenhaus, the agent of his friend and teammate, Lito Sheppard, saying that Sheppard should be starting ahead of Brown in a video Rosenhaus disseminated last week. (link here.)
Brown had several thoughts on the matter, starting with his view of Sheppard's idea that changing agents, from Peter Schaffer to Rosenhaus, would somehow get the Eagles to trade him, which was the ultimate point of last week's video.
"If you know (Rosenhaus') track record, it's more of a disappointment to me that he enticed the guy into signing with him," Brown said. "Thinking that he could get the deal done. Agents don't get the deals done. The player gets the deal done. That's what's disappointing.
"I wouldn't say it bothered me, because I'm bigger than that, I'm a professional ... Drew hasn't been with Sheldon Brown for 7 years; I think he's been with Lito for 2 months. He hasn't followed by career. He hasn't broke down any film; he probably couldn't tell you what number (Brown wears). It's really irrelevant ... (from watching the video) you would think the guy has been scouting tape and know(ing) the statistics and following us our whole career.
"A lot of times, people should just worry about their (own) jobs."
Brown said he had not spoken to Sheppard, who dresses in the next stall, about what Rosenhaus said. It's a problem for Rosenhaus and Sheppard if Sheppard doesn't start this season, because whenever a trade occurs, Sheppard wants a state-of-the-art contract for an elite corner, which he is unlikely to get as the third guy.
Brown and Sheppard have been the Birds' starters since the Super Bowl season of 2004. After Sheppard missed 14 games over the past three seasons and began seeking a contract revision, the Eagles signed Asante Samuel to a $57 million free agent deal and gave him Sheppard's spot at left corner. That left Brown and Sheppard to compete at Brown's right corner spot, a competition Brown seems to have won, for now.
Sheppard saw the large group of reporters at Brown's stall and took a seat at Sean Considine's cublicle, several lockers away from his own. But the savvy newshounds eventually realized he was not Considine, and approached him for comment anyway.
Sheppard said he hadn't seen the video. But under pointed questioning about how smart it was for Rosenhaus to get one of Sheppard's closest friends angry about being included in Sheppard's get-away bid, Sheppard adamantly defended his agent.
"That's between him and Drew," Sheppard said at first. "I didn't say it. (Bleep). What did (Rosenhaus say)?"
Given a quick synopsis, Sheppard said: "Ask Drew about that."
When it was pointed out that Rosenhaus represents Sheppard, and thus said these things in Sheppard's name, Sheppard said: "He wasn't talking to ya'll, he wasn't talking to Sheldon, he was talking to the organization."
Someone pointed out that a YouTube video is not a private conversation with Joe Banner.
"You're right, he did put it out there, didn't he?" Sheppard agreed.
"I have no control over how he forms his argument about my situation," Sheppard said. "Stats are stats. It is what it is. If it takes him to say stuff like that, then obviously, he feels like it's a point to be made. As far as me, I'm never going to talk bad about somebody else, especially on my team, to try to uplift myself. I'm not that kind of guy.
"So ya'll tell me why I'm not starting. I mean, that's the question. (Signing Samuel) has nothing to do with me."
(Insert photo of puzzled reporters scratching their heads. Huh? Of course it had something to do with you, Lito.)
"I let him do his job and I do mine. I ain't got no problem with nothing he does. If that's what ya'll are asking, I don't have a problem with it."
Ask if he worried this could become a distraction similar to the Terrell Owens follies of 2005 (also co-starring Rosenhaus), Sheppard said: "If it does, it does. If it don't, it don't. I'm just playing football and doing my best and letting everything else take care of itself."
Asked if he felt the T.O. drama affected the team, Sheppard said: "Of course ... but it started with you guys ... the distractions start with you."
(More head-scratching. Wasn't it Sheppard who two days earlier suggested we should all ask coaches why he wasn't starting?)
"Right, but that's not down-talking anybody on this team," Sheppard said.
"I back Drew, whatever he does and however he does it. Otherwise I wouldn't have hired him."
Even if it upsets a close friend?
"Hey, well, I'm upset. (Bleep).