Talking to a colleague prior to the start of training camp, I noted how peaceful things would be this year up at Lehigh compared to last season. All the players were signed, everyone was happy and it would be all about football. No free-agent blitz, no holdouts, no sideshows.
I was quickly reminded (by a man obviously much wiser than I) that the moment all seems calm is precisely the moment when hell breaks loose. And he was right. Hell did break loose in a way we could have never imagined.
This training camp will always be known as the one where Garrett Reid was found dead in the Sayre Park dormitories. It is fact, it is permanent, and it will be forever woven into the fabric of the 2012 season. For the last week-plus we have been witness to a very public tragedy in a very unique setting. Ninety men, most younger than the 29-year-old Garrett Reid, trying to hold it together to lead their leader.
We saw Andy Reid at his most vulnerable. Stood confounded as he returned to the practice fields less than 24 hours after burying his son. Witnessed a brief bridging of the coach/media divide, then watched as everyone began assuming their regular positions.
The events were heartbreaking, the response uplifting. And slowly, back to football. But never back to normal.
The Eagles’ 2012 Training Camp is coming to a close. Thank God.
WHAT YOU MISSED
Nnamdi Asomugha is not showing any symptoms of a concussion after a mid-air collision with Nate Allen Monday. Asomugha stayed on the ground for several minutes before being assisted to the cart and taken inside. He has a lacerated lip and a sore neck.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is under the microscope a bit following his hit on Byron Leftwich Thursday night. Peter King thinks it could land him a six-figure fine. Rodgers-Cromartie believes it was a clean hit. When asked if he regretted the decision, DRC threw out this gem.
“Regrets? We’re playing football, man,” Rodgers-Cromartie said. “The Bible said don’t live a life of regret.”
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Reuben Frank over at CSN Philly caught up with Michael Vick on the quarterback’s three-year anniversary of being signed by the Eagles.
“My first day, first practice — it all felt weird,” he said. “I’d much rather would have been in a different position at the time, not being a No. 3, but I accepted it for what it was, and that was a time when I really had to grow up and understand my position and play it to the best of my ability. But the one thing I can tell you is that I was very thankful and never was unhappy about my position or felt any [disappointment].”
Pro Football Talk has a little fun at the expense of Tra Thomas upon the announcement that the former tackle will retire as a member of the Eagles…two years after his actual retirement.
It’s a nice gesture for a quality player, even if it’s been a few hundred moons since he last stepped on the field.
“Tra Thomas is one of the best offensive linemen to ever put on an Eagles uniform,” said Jeffrey Lurie. “He was an anchor at the left tackle position for many years and played such an integral role in our success, though he probably never got all the credit he deserved. Besides being such a great player, Tra is an even better person and someone I’ve always had a great relationship with. I’m proud of what he has done with his career after football as he has remained very successful while keeping his home in this area. We are very happy that he is retiring as an Eagle.”
ESPN NFC East blogger Dan Graziano has a piece up on DeMeco Ryans. One topic that is explored is the adjustment to playing behind the Wide 9.
“When you’re in the Wide, sometimes you can get an offensive lineman up on you quicker, versus the 3-4 under front we played in Houston,” Ryans said. “Sometimes the 4-3, with the guys being wide, the tight ends will have free releases up the field. So you have to be cognizant of those guys getting up on you a lot faster than they would if the end was in tight.”
Tuesday is the final day of training camp. It is also Fan Appreciation Day. Reid will talk after the 8:15 morning walkthrough. Afternoon practice is 2:45. Once that’s a wrap, the Lehigh 500 is on.