Eagles get CB Ellis Hobbs from Patriots

Cornerback Ellis Hobbs (left), now an Eagle, runs back an interception for the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. At right is Junior Seau. Hobbs will be reunited here with former Pat Asante Samuel.

Sheldon Brown requested a trade.

Instead, the Eagles gave him competition.

In return for two fifth-round picks yesterday, the Eagles obtained veteran New England cornerback Ellis Hobbs, a former third-round pick who started all 16 games for the Patriots each of the last two seasons.

Eagles coach Andy Reid tried to dismiss the notion that Hobbs' addition had any connection to Brown's complaints about his contract and the way the team was dealing with the issue.

"We got a good quality player there," Reid said. "You can't have enough corners in this league, so we wanted to make sure we addressed that and brought in a good quality player. This doesn't have anything to do with Sheldon's situation."

Reid said he expects his unhappy cornerback to report for the team's mandatory post-draft camp that begins Friday at the NovaCare Complex, but the coach said he didn't feel the need to explain yesterday's trade personally to Brown.

Brown could not be reached for comment, but he told the Associated Press, "I think it's great. I look at it as great news in terms of me being traded."

Brown went public last week and the Eagles responded with a statement that they would neither renegotiate his contract nor trade him.

"I knew the repercussions of what I was doing," Brown told the Associated Press. He has not committed to attending minicamp.

"I wanted a new deal, but that wasn't happening. So I want a trade. If it can happen now, because they're in a better situation, that's fine. But I realize it could take time."

Reid was asked if Hobbs' addition would at least allow the Eagles to listen to trade offers for Brown.

"I'm not even going to get into all that," he said. "I'm not entertaining that right now. Sheldon is on this football team."

But is he still a starter?

"We'll see how everything works out," Reid said. "I feel like I have three solid starters. I know [Joselio Hanson] can step in and also start. I think we have four solid corners."

Hobbs, who turns 26 next month, has started 49 games in four seasons at cornerback for the Patriots and has nine career interceptions. He played opposite Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel on the Patriots' team that won 18 straight games before losing to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl two years ago.

"They didn't give me any indication what they're going to do, but obviously you bring me in for a reason," Hobbs said. "One of my former teammates is there and I'm pretty sure he spoke well of me. I know that situation over there dealing with Sheldon and how that stuff is going. You bring somebody in for a reason, but everything has to be earned."

Hobbs also is an elite kick returner with three career returns for touchdowns, including one for an NFL-record 108 yards in September 2007.

He led the AFC and was second in the NFL last season with a 28.5-yard return average. The acquisition of Hobbs and first-round draft pick Jeremy Maclin give the Eagles two potential kick returners to replace Quintin Demps, who is penciled in as the team's starting free safety.

Like Brown, Hobbs said he isn't thrilled about his own contract situation. Hobbs, however, only has one year remaining on the five-year rookie deal he signed with New England in 2005. He will make $2.545 million this season.

"It's definitely frustrating when you see guys making certain amounts of money that you think you should get just as well and you deserve," Hobbs said. "It is what it is, and I'm getting paid more than a lot of people in this world, so that will come."

He said he'd be happy if his next contract came from the Eagles.

"If we can make this my home, I would definitely love to be here," he said.


Contact staff writer Bob Brookover at 215-854-2577 or bbrookover@phillynews.com.

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