Asante Samuel went from "assertive" to "absent."

Samuel, the most vocal Eagles defender in last week's OTA drills, opted to take advantage of the "voluntary" part of the voluntary minicamp, a team spokesman said. He was not present for yesterday's practice. A team source said Eagles coach Andy Reid was disappointed, but such absences are not unheard of among veteran players who feel they got enough work in the first week, or who have pressing personal business.

The Eagles did, however, give Samuel a $57 million contract as a free agent last year, and you would think that might guarantee perfect attendance. The team was already functioning without its other starting corner, Sheldon Brown, who opted to stay away because he is dissatisfied with his contract and the rejection of his trade request.

In a text-message response to a question, Samuel's agent, Alonzo Shaver, said: "He is tending to some family matters. No worries."

Thumbs up

Eagles rookie running back LeSean McCoy was back on the field yesterday, after leaving Friday's indoor workout with what the team said was a sprained left thumb. McCoy practiced with the thumb wrapped, and said he felt no ill effects.

"It wasn't that big a deal," said McCoy, who acknowledged being "a little nervous" after he slipped, put his hand out to brace himself, and "my thumb totally bent back."

While McCoy was walking off the field Friday with trainer Rick Burkholder, Brian Westbrook was undergoing right ankle surgery in Baltimore to clean out bone fragments that were causing irritation, a bit of a nerve-racking coincidence.

"I knew it wasn't that serious. It swelled up a little bit," McCoy said. He definitely wanted to tape it up and get back to work. "In my situation, I'm trying to learn everything. I feel every day is vital to me," he said.

McCoy said he has texted with Westbrook since the surgery.

"He's fine," McCoy said. "He asked me how everything's going, stuff like that. He told me he would be here, stuff like that. Kind of like friends talk."

Westbrook, who won't be putting any weight on his ankle for either 2 weeks (Eagles' estimate) or a month (surgeon Dr. Michael Myerson's estimate), was not around the NovaCare Complex yesterday.

Supplemental situation

Jeremy Jarmon, the Kentucky defensive end who was ruled ineligible for his senior year because of a positive test for a banned substance, will be in Philadelphia today for a physical and meeting with the Eagles, reported.

Jarmon, who has the third-most sacks in school history, plans to enter the NFL's supplemental draft on July 16. Teams bid for a player via e-mail and the team willing to give up the highest pick in next year's draft earns the player's rights. *