Kevin Kolb is back.
Whether he's back with the Eagles next season, of course, remains one of the questions of the off-season. Some have argued that Kolb is the poster-child for NFL lockout sob stories. The Eagles backup quarterback wants to start for another team and the Eagles seem willing to oblige him, but the work stoppage has him hanging on a wire.
"It's pretty tough," Kolb said today, moments after participating for the first time in informal workouts with the Eagles. "But, you all have known me for a long time, and the way I handle things is I keep my mind and keep the things out of my life. So I don't pay too much attention to it. It's hard when it has to do with my life. But I keep a positive attitude and keep moving forward and whatever happens I'll be ready to roll."
A reporter reminded Kolb that he's currently the most sought after quarterback in the NFL. He's been linked to many teams in a possible trade, most notably to the Arizona Cardinals.
"Well, just the unknown, one way or the other, you hope for the best, but not knowing things for your family, for myself, for preparation, who to throw to," Kolb said. “The only thing I can do is try to get my body right, make sure my mind is right when the bell rings.”
Kolb showing up for workouts today in Evesham, N.J. came as bit of a surprise. He has maintained his residence in Granbury, Tex. for almost all of the off-season and hadn't taken part in the workouts organized by quarterback Michael Vick and tight end Brent Celek. Because there's a good chance he won't be back with the Eagles some speculated that he was avoiding throwing to players who could no longer be teammates.
"He's still a Philadelphia Eagle," Celek said.
Kolb said he decided about a week-and-a-half ago that is was time to return to Philadelphia.
"I just booked a flight and came on up," Kolb said. "I think I called Brent 18 hours in advance and said, ‘Hey, come pick me up at the airport, I’m going to stay with you for a week.’”
Kolb said he landed in Philly yesterday and then played golf with a group of Eagles players. He plans on practicing again tomorrow and will stay through the weekend before heading back down South. Kolb said he's been throwing to Dallas-based receivers, including the Eagles' Chad Hall.
He admitted that it's been difficult to keep his mind off his future. Even though Eagles coach Andy Reid has told Kolb that he will do his best to honor his request, there's always the chance he won't be traded and will have to endure another season as the backup.
“I want an opportunity," Kolb said. "If the situation can’t be avoided I’m not going to sit there and be a turd. It’s not my style. I think I’ve voiced my opinion and there’s nothing else I can do.”
Kolb said he texted Reid when the lockout was briefly lifted during the lockout, but not to talk about his situation.
"He brought it up," Kolb said. "I said, ‘Coach, I didn’t even call you to talk about that.’ ... He threw in there at the very end: ‘I’ll do what’s best for you.’”
There are plenty of reasons why Kolb may not be traded. If the lockout drags on late into the summer or possibly into the season, teams may be less reluctant to bring in a new quarterback.
“There’s a list of questions," Kolb said. "Nobody knows the answers. To say that didn’t cross my mind, I’d be lying.”
Kolb and Eagles third-string quarterback Mike Kafka handled all the throws to Celek and wide receivers Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant and Riley Cooper, among a few others.
"It felt great. I feel good," Kolb said. "I've been working hard. Obviously, these dudes have been working hard, too. It was good to get back out here, more than just the throwing, to be around the guys again."
Vick did not attend likely because he has a speaking engagement scheduled in Philadelphia this afternoon. Vick and Kolb remain close and have spoken regularly during the off-season, but not about Kolb's situation.
“We don’t even talk about it," Kolb said. "We talk about fishing.”