Clark's NFL journey back where it started with Birds

JEREMY CLARK said yesterday he thinks he remembers the Eagles' defense well enough, even though Clark has been a Giant, a Falcon, a Giant again, a Cardinal, a Cowboy and a Redskin since he last practiced at NovaCare.

Clark is a 27-year-old defensive tackle who spent the 2007 season on the Eagles' practice squad as a free-agent rookie out of Alabama. He returned to the team yesterday, signed after rookie Jeff Owens went on injured reserve, Owens having ruptured a patellar tendon only a few snaps into his NFL debut, Tuesday night against the Vikings.

"Once you learn something, it kinda sticks with you. Even though I've learned a few other schemes, even playing in a couple of 3-4 defenses, once you learn it, it never really goes away," said Clark, cut by the Redskins on Christmas Day.

"It's been quite an experience. I've been to quite a few NFC East teams," Clark said. "Kind of fun coming back to where it all started. All in all, glad to be back, ready to work again."

The Eagles added both Clark and former Saints and Jaguars defensive end Bobby McCray yesterday, and jettisoned defensive end Derrick Burgess, who rejoined the team 2 weeks ago. Burgess played a handful of snaps Tuesday against the Vikings, apparently not terribly well.

Clark would seem to stand a better chance than McCray of being active Sunday. Trevor Laws, who plays a regular role in the Eagles' four-tackle rotation, suffered a shoulder sprain Tuesday and did not practice yesterday. Plus, Clark has been in the league this season; McCray, 29, said he has worked out for several teams, but he hasn't played since the Saints released him just before the season started.

McCray, meanwhile, was a postseason starter for the Super Bowl-winning Saints last season. He made the news last summer when he married actress Khadijah Haqq; their son was born last month. McCray said he has been training in New Orleans. He said it won't take him long to be ready to play.

"The chip on my shoulder right now, I'm ready to go," he said. "I'm just going to shake off a little bit of cobwebs, just from game speedwise . . . get the plays down pat, we'll see where we go from there. It's like tying your shoes - shouldn't be too hard."

McCray said this is a completely different defense than he played in with New Orleans.

 

Alternate takes

 

Defensive end Trent Cole and running back LeSean McCoy rank high on many lists of the most notable players who didn't get Pro Bowl berths, though both are first alternates and very well could end up going to Hawaii. Five Eagles were selected.

Cole, who made the 2007 and '09 games, has 10 sacks, with one game left to play. He might be playing better all-around than he played last year, when he made the Pro Bowl with 12 1/2 sacks. Cole didn't seem too upset yesterday. "I think the right guys got in there," he said.

McCoy, who leads NFL running backs with 78 receptions and is fourth in the league with 1,672 yards from scrimmage, acknowledged he was a little disappointed. McCoy is only in his second season and doesn't have the name recognition of older players.

"In an offense like this, where we've got so many weapons, I don't get the attention I would get on another team, but that's fine," McCoy said. "I knew I had a good shot . . . Looking at numbers, I thought I definitely would have a shot. It also goes by name - Adrian Peterson's a name, he's a great back, so's [Steven] Jackson and Mike [Turner]. They're all great backs. I'm not really disappointed in the selections that they picked, but I was a little let down, though. I thought I worked so hard this season. I thought as a team, we've done a phenomenal job. I thought it might have been a little different."

 

Birdseed

 

Special-teams coordinator Bobby April said that while big returns usually require something extraordinary from the returner, the Eagles just haven't blocked well enough to set up such things. It seems possible Gerard Lawson will get a shot this week against Dallas . . . It's unclear whether Dimitri Patterson or Joselio Hanson will start against the Cowboys. Of course, they both might start, if Asante Samuel sits out, as expected. Michael Vick (quad), Samuel (knee) and DeSean Jackson (foot) all sat out yesterday's practice.

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