Several Eagles interviewed after Tuesday's morning workout at Lehigh said they had no idea Shawn Andrews was suffering from depression, until Andrews detailed his struggle to the Daily News Monday afternoon. They seemed sympathetic and said they would be supportive of their teammate, who has said he hopes to return to the team within the next several days.
The news wasn't quite a shock, said running back Brian Westbrook.
"Obviously, there was a situation going on; if there wasn't, he'd have been here at camp," Westbrook said. "I'm glad that now he's finding help, and that he'll be better soon."
Westbrook said the team is eager to assist Andrews, who has been missing since veterans reported to camp July 24.
"We have a lot of good guys who can help," Westbrook said. "I think everybody here, including coaches, would want the best for Shawn, and understand, be very sympathetic to his situation. We're going to do everything we can to make it the easiest transition, and try to get him ready for the season"
Right now, apparently, Andrews is still getting fined at least $15,000 per day because his absence is unexcused. The Eagles still haven't made any statement about the situation, but according to the NFL Players' Association, a player who alleges an emotional problem is in the same situation as a player who tells the team he has a broken leg; the team asks him to come in and let its doctors assess the problem. If the player doesn't do that, he is unexecused.
The Eagles are believed to have urged Andrews to come to Philadelphia and be examined, from the time he first made them aware of his feelings, around the reporting date for camp. Andrews said Monday he finally decided to seek out a doctor back home in Arkansas, seeing him for the first time last week. He said he believed his doctor was to get in touch with Eagles officials. Andrews also indicated he is now willing to speak with a therapist in Philadelphia, something he had been reluctant to do previously, because he didn't want his situation made public.
If all of this happens and the two-time Pro Bowl right guard returns soon, it is far from clear that the Eagles will collect the fines, or that they will be allowed to collect the fines, if they press the matter. An NFLPA spokesman said Tuesday: "We are aware of Shawn's situation, through his representation (agent Rich Moran). We are monitoring the situation."
Andrews said Monday he hopes to get the green light to return to the team after he sees his therapist in Arkansas on Thursday.
Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg spoke highly of Andrews' replacement, Max Jean-Gilles, as Reid had the day before. Neither Reid nor Mornhinweg went so far as to say Jean-Gilles would continue to start when Andrews returns.
"We're not even in the middle of training camp here," Mornhinweg said.
Asked about the difficulty of a player coming in after missing a lot of work, Mornhinweg said: "There are many players who have caught up and caught up quick. Usually those are the players that have some experience."
Jean-Gilles said he has not spoken with Andrews and doesn't know what will happen when Andrews returns.
"I'm here for him, but as a player, I'm going to have to do what I have to do to make this team," Jean-Gilles said. "I don't know what's going to happen. It's a situation I can't handle; I'll just leave it up to God."
*Kevin Kolb had some nice throws, including a rainbow-arced bomb down the right sideline to camp standout Lorenzo Booker for a long touchdown, rookie linebacker Joe Mays trailing. Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg noted that Kolb mostly plays with the second-string offense against the first-string defense. "Our 'one' defense is pretty good," Mornhinweg said. "Many times it'll be a hard practice - he'll be harrassed, he'll have to move a little bit more than normal, he'll have to make tighter throws ... In the long run, that's good for him."
*Kolb completed just such a pass Tuesday, fleeing to the right with Jerome McDougle in hot pursuit. Kolb hit Hank Baskett along the sideline just before Kolb ran out of bounds.
*Speaking of McDougle, he was matched up a lot against Winston Justice, Jon Runyan having the morning off as a 30-plus club member. In one sequence, McDougle beat Justice badly on three of four snaps.
*Trevor Laws broke through and accidentally knocked down A.J. Feeley, instead of just touching him.
*L.J. Smith made a fine turning, one-handed end zone catch in traffic.
*Omar Gaither blocked a Kolb pass.
*Backup kicker and punter Richmond McGee took a direct snap on a fake field goal and pooch-punted.