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Differing views from Dawk, Asante?

Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel caught everyone off-guard earlier this week when he didn't show up for OTAs at the NovaCare Complex.

The workouts are voluntary. And Samuel's agent texted Les Bowen, saying his client was attending to family matters.

Now if Samuel has a serious family issue, I don't think anyone would have a problem with him leaving town. But the impression that he just didn't feel like attending seemed to rub some of you the wrong way.

Especially given the fact that there is no Brian Dawkins or Jim Johnson to lead the defense right now. And Sheldon Brown is MIA as well.

So the obvious questions are: Does it matter that Samuel hasn't been there? And how important are OTAs anyway?

Which brings us back (briefly) to Dawkins.

His departure leaves an obvious leadership gap on defense. Some initially thought the hole would be filled by Brown, but that doesn't appear to be the case anymore.

Last week, we heard all about Samuel being more vocal, but, to state the obvious, it's hard to lead when you're not there.

Based on Dawkins' comments in today's Denver Post, he values the importance of attending OTAs.

"From this time of year, it's really honestly about dedication," he told reporter Lindsay H. Jones. "Dedicating yourself to the potential of us doing what we need to do and to getting to the playoffs. What I mean by that dedication is your workouts need to be intense. You can't not work out for a period of time and think 'I'm going to be all right.' You can't think, 'I've got all the plays down' and not study them. And you have to take care of your body, and what that means is getting the proper sleep and eating the right things."

Would seem to go against the notion of simply choosing not to show up for voluntary workouts, right?

The point of this is not to chastise Samuel. Until we know exactly why he opted out this week, it's probably not fair to judge one way or the other.

And even if he had no reason at all, the majority of you said it didn't matter anyway in an unscientific poll earlier this week. If Samuel picks off Jake Delhomme in Week 1 against the Panthers (which would seem entirely possible, given how both players ended last season), we won't remember any of this.

But it will be interesting to keep an eye on the leadership issue when training camp gets under way next month.


Strong Eagles content from both the Inquirer and Daily News this morning. Some stuff that caught my eye:

** Jeff McLane wrote about Reggie Brown. Interesting line in the article:

Brown declined to say if he has asked for a trade.

Should that leave us to assume he has asked for one? You tell me.

** Joe Banner has said in the past that the fans' approval rating for Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb is higher than you might believe from listening to sports-talk radio and reading commenters online. Rich Hofmann got his hands on the actual numbers.

** Head over to the Eagles section for all of today's stories, columns and blog posts. And click here for new photos from today's practice.