Jeremiah Trotter is going to get a chance to see if it's true what they say about the third time.
The Eagles signed the former Pro Bowl middle linebacker to a one-year deal at the league minimum. The move would have come as a surprise a week ago, but seemed to become a formality yesterday when Trotter worked out for a second time. Trotter, a four-time Pro Bowler, last played for the Eagles in 2006. It's not exactly clear what role Trotter will play in his return to the Eagles.
"I don't think they brought me back to play special teams," Trotter said today at the NovaCare Complex.
Trotter said he was still in a state of shock. It's safe the say he's probably not the only one. Nevertheless, Trotter is back and he'll be wearing his old No. 54 after he made a deal with linebacker Tracy White.
"I always dreamed I would retire as an Eagle," said Trotter, who felt like he had at least three years of football left in his 32-year-old body. "Hopefully, that can still happen."
Trotter said that he did better than he expected on a physical the Eagles gave him yesterday. "They said my knees looked better" than last time he was with the Eagles, Trotter said. "Which is odd for me." Trotter said he had his right knee cleaned out a few months after he was released by Tampa Bay following the 2007 season. He spent the 2008 season out of the league.
He said today that he weighed around 257 pounds. He also revealed that he worked out for the St. Louis Rams in the off-season, but nothing came of it. Still, he kept training and kept believing that this day would come.
"Jeremiah Trotter has always been one of my favorite players,” head coach Andy Reid said in a press release. “He has worked very hard to keep himself in shape and we are pleased with where he is physically. We are excited to give him an opportunity to contribute to our football team.”
To make room for Trotter on their 53-man roster, the Eagles have released quarterback Jeff Garcia.
“Jeff Garcia is a true professional and I know the players and coaches appreciated having him around these last two weeks," Reid said. "There is no doubt Jeff can still perform at a championship caliber level in the National Football League.”
Here's the rest of the release:
Originally a third-round draft choice of the Eagles in 1998, Trotter racked up 100-or-more tackles and led the team in that category in five of his seven seasons in Philadelphia. He also became the fourth linebacker in team history with four-or-more Pro Bowls, joining Chuck Bednarik (8), Maxie Baughan (5), and Bill Bergey (4).
He was released by the Eagles prior to the start of the 2007 season. Trotter has played in 134 games (117 starts) in his ten-year career, tallying 1,201 tackles, 12.5 sacks, nine interceptions (two touchdown returns), and eight forced fumbles.
Trotter spent his first four years in Philadelphia (1998-2001), garnering Pro Bowl honors following the 2000 and 2001 seasons before joining the Washington Redskins in 2002. He was released by the Redskins after the 2003 season, and re-signed with the Eagles in 2004. He spent the first seven games of that season as a reserve linebacker, but re-claimed the starting middle linebacker spot midway through the year and was instrumental in the Eagles run to the Super Bowl. Trotter went on to earn his third and fourth Pro Bowl nominations following the 2004 and 2005 seasons.