So we got the answer to the question about whether anyone would notice if Scott Young didn't show up at the Eagles' voluntary minicamp.

"Scott Young?" cornerback Sheldon Brown said. "He's not here? Why?"

The mystery of Young's absence should be solved someday, but the far bigger story yesterday was that cornerback Lito Sheppard decided to boycott at least the first day of this camp at the NovaCare Complex.

Everybody noticed that, but no one should have been surprised.

"It's a voluntary camp," Brown said. "I know he's working out. He's working out with me, so he's cool."

Sheppard's absence was a clear message that he's less than thrilled with his contract and his overall situation, but neither he nor his agent, Lamont Smith, have ever publicly stated their case. That streak remained intact when neither Sheppard nor Smith returned a phone call.

Eagles coach Andy Reid said he had been warned by Smith that Sheppard would not be attending this camp. He received the same warning from Young's agent, Jeff Courtney, but still seemed miffed about the decision of his fourth-year guard from Brigham Young. Reid said he didn't know why the second-string guard wasn't in attendance.

Young, a fifth-round draft choice in 2005, is entering the final year of his contract and is scheduled to be paid $520,000 this season. After playing in 12 games in 2006, he dressed for just one game last season. If his intent is to get released, he may have helped his cause.

As for Sheppard's intent, it's difficult to see what he gains or loses by not showing up at this voluntary camp.

"I guess he misses his wide receiver reps," Brown said in reference to speculation that Sheppard might get some work on offense if he attended this camp.

Reid didn't seem all that concerned by Sheppard's absence.

"That's his decision," the coach said. "I'll leave it at that. My focus is on the guys who are here. I don't think twice about it. We've got a lot of business to do. If you worry about two people who aren't here, and you have 86 who are here, we're focused on the 86.

"Guys who are here are getting extra practice time. That's the important thing. They are getting to better themselves. You prepare yourself for a successful season with a successful off-season. You can't slight that."

Brown believes that Sheppard will return to work when the Eagles begin training camp at Lehigh University late next month.

"I can't tell you why I expect to see him there, but you should know the answer," Brown said.

Money is the answer. Sheppard isn't subject to fines for missing this eight-day camp that runs through June 12, but he would be if he opted to sit out of training camp.

Still unresolved, however, is exactly how this situation is going to work if Sheppard remains with the Eagles. When Sheppard attended the Eagles' mandatory post-draft camp last month, he was shuffled in and out with Asante Samuel and Brown on the first-team defense.

Things will not work that same way once the season begins.

"Hopefully by [training camp], we as players will have a clearer picture of how it's going to work," safety Brian Dawkins said.

Nobody seemed all that fazed by Sheppard's absence. He's certainly not the first player to boycott a voluntary minicamp. In recent years, defensive tackle Corey Simon, running backs Duce Staley and Brian Westbrook, cornerback Bobby Taylor and, of course, wide receiver Terrell Owens all voiced their contract displeasure by sitting out this voluntary camp.

"When I was here with Ray [Rhodes], guys would not come, period," Dawkins said of Reid's predecessor. "Or they would come for a couple days and miss the whole next week. This is nothing really new to me when it comes to guys not coming. It's a voluntary thing."

And Sheppard voluntarily decided not to show up yesterday.

Has anyone seen Scott Young?

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