Eagles coach Andy Reid said today that he has spoken with wideout DeSean Jackson, and is confident Jackson will report on time for training camp, July 29 at Lehigh. Rookies are scheduled to report July 26.
Reid, speaking at the conclusion of OTAs -- "46 days and 12 hours" before the opening of camp, as he put it, said he spoke to Jackson about Jackson's absence from the final week of these workouts. "It was personal reasons, he and Asante" Samuel, the veteran cornerback who also missed the final week, Reid said.
As he has done in the past, Reid emphasized that while he wants players to take every opportunity to get better, "it is a voluntary camp," and he feels it's important for players with personal business to "get whatever settled they need to get settled."
In the past, such absences often have been linked to contract displeasure. Jackson has said he would like to have his rookie deal redone, after making the Pro Bowl as a wideout and a returner in his second NFL season. The Eagles have said that restrictions caused by the expiring collective bargaining agreement make that difficult. Jackson has not spoken about missing this week, but there have been reports saying the absence was not contract-related.
Overall, Reid touted "great effort and energy" as a young, inexperienced Eagles team passed another milestone in the post-Donovan McNabb era. Reid noted that quarterback Kevin Kolb "had a lot of throws" -- much more work than he has gotten in previous years as a backup. "I think he's handled that well," Reid said.
Reid's rundown of the injury situation contained few surprises. The most notable was that starting strong safety Quintin Mikell suffered an MCL sprain this week, but Reid said Mikell will be fine for the start of training camp. Reid said DE Victor Abiamiri (microfracture knee surgery) "most likely won't be ready" for the opening of camp, but MLB Stewart Bradley (calf), LG Todd Herremans (foot), WR Riley Cooper (hamstring spasm), and OT Fenuki Tupou (pectoral muscle) will be ready.
FS Marlin Jackson is most likely out for the season after suffering the Eagles' most serious OTA injury, a ruptured Achilles'. Reid said subsequent tests showed the tendon had been damaged previously. He was optimistic about Jackson, a former Colts corner, resuming his career, though he has suffered ACL tears the past two years.
Reid confirmed that with Jackson down, the starter at free safety going into training camp is second-round rookie Nate Allen, whom he praised as "a smart kid with a nice football mind, kind of easy to teach, a fast learner."
The previous timetable remains in place for C Jamaal Jackson (ACL); Reid said Jackson will not be ready for the start of camp, and playing the Sept. 12 regular-season opener against Green Bay would be "a stretch for Jamaal ... That'd be quite a feat."
Reid affirmed his confidence in Michael Vick as his backup quarterback.
The coach, who usually heads up to Alaska for a break before training camp with Vikings head coach Brad Childress, confirmed that this year, he has agreed to join Childress on a USO tour of the Middle East. Also in the group are Carolina coach John Fox and Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis.
Reid joked that flak vests "only go to 2XL," so his plan is to "put one on front and one on back, bring some tape," and create his own.