DeMeco Ryans ready to lead in first training camp with Eagles

DeMeco Ryans is in his first training camp with the Eagles. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- DeMeco Ryans, the new Eagles middle linebacker, didn't need to worry about finding the way to Lehigh University. He rode with fellow linebacker Akeem Jordan, who knows how to navigate the hilly campus. 

But once Ryans checked in, it was time to become the leader. When Ryans spoke about his excitement for training camp -- a seemingly universal sentiment that often carries a different tune after practicing in the heat and sleeping in the dorm rooms -- he spoke about "jelling together our team." For Ryans, who was a captain with the Houston Texans, the chemistry is an important consideration of training camp.

"Through training camp, you always have different guys coming in each year," Ryans said. "So through the process of training camp, you all get to learn each other, get to be around each other a lot more. You get used to hanging around each other. You get to know the guys. That's what training camp is all about. Especially being here in Lehigh, you get everybody, the camaraderie, guys get closer together. That's how you build a team."

"After mini-camps and organized team activities, Ryans knows the scheme and the expectations of the defense. He's been waiting for the season through the summer, when he returned home to Alabama and also trained with former Texans teammate Brian Cushing in New Jersey. 

 Camp will be a different experience, too. Ryans said in Houston, the Texans didn't have full-team scrimmages heavy on contact the way coach Andy Reid likes to run training camps with the Eagles. Ryans pointed out there's more than one way to be successful, and figured Reid knows what he's doing. But he's eager to see what it's like, and that's why Ryans awaited Thursday's first full-squad practice.

"I tell people all the time, I'm definitely excited to be an Eagle," Ryans said. "I'm looking to come in and do my part."