In some ways it felt like any other Eagles practice.
Players worked out in oppressive heat. They gathered at the end and in unison said, "Hard work." Reporters were there to chronicle it. And safety Quintin Mikell stuck around to talk afterward while the rest of the Eagles took off.
But informal workouts that began two weeks ago in Evesham, N.J. have been a far cry from the organized team activities that Eagles coach would normally be holding now if it weren't for the NFL lockout. That isn't to say the players haven't benefited from the practices. But there's only so much a dozen players without coaches can do.
Today, for instance, not a single football made an appearance. Under the instruction of two trainers from Power Train Sports, 11 players separated into two groups ran -- sometimes with a weighted sled impeding their path -- and ran hard.
The passing camp that Michael Vick helped organize has been held mostly on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Vick is down in Virginia, however, and after a two-day appearance last week Kevin Kolb is back in Texas. Mike Kafka has made each session and shouldered the load of throwing yesterday. He is expected to do so again tomorrow.
But today's workout allowed some Eagles linemen -- guard Todd Herremans, tackle Austin Howard, defensive tackle Trevor Laws and defensive end Juqua Parker -- to get outside with the offensive skill position players that have mostly showed up for passing days. Tight end Brent Celek and long snapper Jon Dorenbos worked out with the linemen today.
The other group consisted of wide receiver Jerremy Maclin, linebacker Jamar Chaney, running back Eldra Buckley, Mikell and two unnamed players Maclin brought along.
The number of fans that have attended the workouts appears to have grown with each passing day. Able to stand within earshot of the players, they were amused when Celek made a few jokes at a reporter's expense.
The tight end, who said he has bulked up to 267 pounds this off-season, went shirtless for most of the early workouts. A photo of the bare-chested Celek ran in last week's newspaper and an unfortunate angle made it seem as if the weight gain had more to do with binging than lifting.