On the day when veterans were supposed to arrive at Lehigh last summer, Shawn Andrews arrived in a white Range Rover.
He was sporting a cleaned-up mohawk and had a Macbook Pro in hand. He had traveled to other countries during the offseason and was learning new languages. He said he felt physically right and mentally right. Andrews had never been more excited about training camp, and getting a chance to play alongside his brother.
But the next day, Andrews was not on the field for the team's first full-squad workout. Andy Reid explained afterwards that Andrews' back tightened up during a run that morning.
He wouldn't practice again until Aug. 29 when Andrews started preparing for Week 1 against the Panthers. But the back issues surfaced again the week leading up to the game, and after the Eagles' win, the team placed him on injured reserve.
It's easy to forget that between 2005-2007, Andrews started 47 of 48 regular-season games, earning two Pro Bowl berths and an All-Pro honor in 2006.
Now, after multiple back surgeries, and having not played an NFL game in two seasons, Andrews' future is very much in question. But he said in a radio interview last month that he owes Reid and the city of Philadelphia.
"When I came out to LA after my back issue, I had to look coach Reid in the eye and tell him I owe him," Andrews said. "It’s bigger than football with me right now. If nothing else, I just wish that I could get just one more season just so I can pay coach Reid and just prove to the fans that I still have it, I still want to be a part of this organization. And for coach Reid sticking by me with my situation in 2008, and I definitely owe the city of Philadelphia so hopefully lord willing, I can get back to 100 percent and get to mashing people again."
The first question for Andrews is: Will he be able to resolve his back issues and get back on the field?
If the answer to that question is yes, the next question becomes: Where does he fit in?
The Eagles signed Winston Justice to a contract extension after his strong performance at right tackle last season.
Would they try to move Andrews back to guard? That would seem like the most logical option. He'd likely be competing there with Nick Cole and his brother.
But that's way down the road. Andrews said he'll first have to go through a six-month rehab process, which would ideally put him in position to be ready for training camp.
We'll see once again at the end of July whether Andrews is on course to contribute, or whether his career is another step closer to being over.
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