Cornerback Sheldon Brown, still plenty steamed about his contract situation, said this morning that he knows he's not the only player on the Eagles' roster feeling underpaid and underappreciated.
"Without a doubt there are going to be more problems," Brown said this morning. "I'm not the first guy and I'm not going to be the last guy. What's the incentive for guys like Trent Cole and Mike Patterson to play above their heads? Everybody's situation is different and everybody handles their business in a different way. This situation could have been handled in a different way. I was forced to put it out there."
The veteran cornerback said his decision to go public with his trade request and contract dispute was triggered by team president Joe Banner's unwillingness to recognize that a dispute existed.
"Joe did an interview with 610 (WIP) and he said my contract has not been presented as an issue," Brown said. "I take that personal. My agent (Jason Chayut) has been talking to him for four months. (Banner) was throwing him off to some guy I don't even know."
Chayut, according to Brown, was told to talk to Andrew Brandt, who was hired by the Eagles this offseason to help with salary-cap matters.
Brown said his invitation to go public about his dispute came when Banner said Sunday that he had contacted the Buffalo Bills about the availability of Jason Peters while the left tackle was in the midst of a holdout from training camp last summer.
"What's my only option?" Brown said. "That's my key to the exit. Joe was going to deny until he dies there is not a problem. He forced my hand to make a statement and make a statement in a strong way. It has been like a slap in the face."
Brown also addressed the predictable backlash from some fans who are upset that a person making $2 million next season can complain about their contract in these troubled economic times.
"Everybody is saying this is only about the money and that I don't know what's going on in the world," Brown said. "Don't you think I have family members who live in the real world? Don't you think I have family that has struggled in this recession? I'm not worried about how people feel about me. When I'm done playing football, I'm going back to South Carolina and I won't have to listen to 610 (WIP) or Joe Banner. Everybody has the right to their opinion, but if you think it's about the money, you're crazy."
Brown acknowledged that the six-year contract extension he signed in 2004 was a fair deal, but he said the economic climate of the NFL changed drastically with a new collective bargaining agreement in 2006.
"When I did the deal, I knew it was a good deal," he said. "Nobody could anticipate that the CBA was going to go up 40 to 50 percent. Nobody wants to talk about the owners being billionaires and how they won't open their books."
Brown said his current salary ranks 36th among NFL cornerbacks, but it wasn't clear if he was talking about this year's salary or the average value of his deal. He said he's not trying to become the highest-paid cornerback in the game.
"It's not like I'm trying to get near the top of the tier," Brown said. "I want them to pay me somewhere in the middle of the pack."
The Eagles, in a statement yesterday, said they have no intention of reworking Brown's deal or trading him. So where does that leave the cornerback? Will he boycott the mandatory camp scheduled to begin May 1? Will he boycott the voluntary camps later this spring? Will he hold out of training camp? His hope remains that the Eagles will trade him this weekend, which is an unlikely scenario.
Brown said he's flying back to his home in South Carolina Thursday.
"I have considered (holdouts)," he said. "I'll deal with that stuff when it comes around. I'm really not in the right state of mind to talk about it right now. I didn't want it to get to this point. I tried to handle this in a professional way."