Eagles' Jeremiah Trotter, asked if he is concerned about losing his starting middle linebacking role to Omar Gaither, answered with one word:
Later, asked the same question a different way, Trotter, 30, coming off a season when his creaky knees seemed to betray him, said: "I've always been a self-motivator. I've always been someone who plays the game because I love the game and I have a passion to play, and have a desire to be the best at what I do. I don't feel any need, I don't feel any pressure, or anything like that.
"As young players, that's their job. They have to be hungry. When I came in, I was hungry, I wanted to start. I was doing everything possible to start. It didn't work out that way my rookie year. One day when I'm finished, and Omar's the man, or whoever, he's going to have a young guy pushing him. That's just the way the game goes. There's always competition, and everyone fights for their job every year."
It seems likely Trotter will be off the field more on passing downs this season, in favor of Gaither.
Defensive end Trent Cole has been the starter opposite Jevon Kearse for the morning sessions, Darren Howard in the afternoons, Jim Johnson said . . . Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg seemed to feel that left offensive tackle William Thomas, whose offseason knee surgery was made public Saturday, will be available for June minicamp and for training camp in July . . . Australian Rules Football star Saverio Rocca will succeed or fail mainly on his punting, but it might be worth noting that Rocca has made strong progress learning how to hold for David Akers. "He said, 'Give me 3 months, mate, I'll make it right,' " Akers reported. Yesterday, Rocca seemed to hit one booming, memorable punt, then often would follow that with a shank . . . Wide receiver Reggie Brown sat out yesterday after banging knees with cornerback Will James on Saturday. Brown said after the collision that his injury wasn't serious. The Eagles called it a contusion . . . Johnson was asked how Kearse looks as he comes back from knee surgery. Kearse acknowledged recently that he is down to 240 pounds or less, but said he expects to be about 20 pounds heavier for training camp. "He looks very light, but I'm happy he's out there," Johnson said. "He's far more advanced [in terms of recovery] than we thought he would be." *