Last season, Reggie Brown went from dinged up to demoted to ultimately deactivated.

By the end of it all, after he was benched for the NFC championship game, the Eagles wide receiver was disillusioned.

"I guess they felt like they had a good thing going," said Brown, who didn't dress against the Cardinals in favor of Greg Lewis. "I really didn't get any clear-cut answer about that. So I just pretty much let it go."

Saying it is nice, but judging from his effort this spring, Brown apparently has dropped any lingering discontent. During minicamp, the former second-round draft pick has caught most everything thrown his way. Whether he can remain with his only organization - uncharacteristically overflowing with wideouts - is unclear.

The Eagles typically carry five to six receivers. If it's six, Brown projects to be the last guy in. If it's five, the math may not compute for the fifth-year pro.

"I don't need to put any extra pressure on myself," Brown said. "I'm just going out there trying to enjoy the game and have a good showing, and it's working out."

Last season, Brown missed four of the Eagles' first seven games because of hamstring and groin injuries. Until the season opener he had played in every game of his career. However, when he sat for the Giants game in Week 13 it wasn't officially because of injury. By that point he had been Wally Pipped, with players lower on the depth chart supplanting him, and Brown fell onto the inactive list.

"It was a just vicious circle for him," Eagles coach Andy Reid said. "But we're not down on Reggie Brown at all. Reggie, we know, is a good player and very productive."

Brown was once labeled a future No. 1 receiver, and his first two seasons suggested as much. In 2006, his second year, he caught 46 passes for 816 yards (17.7 average) and eight touchdowns. He had 61 catches in 2007, but his other numbers dipped across the board. Last season, in 10 games, he finished with 18 receptions for 252 yards and just one touchdown.

"There's no question that he's back," offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg proclaimed after Tuesday's practice. "He was hurt virtually all of last year. He was nicked up several different times. So he's back to where he was that second year he played for us."

Even if that were the case, it would be hard for Brown to match those numbers. There are just too many wide-receiver options for quarterback Donovan McNabb. DeSean Jackson, after a sensational rookie season, is back. Kevin Curtis, who missed part of last season because of injury and had off-season hernia surgery, is back. So, too, are Jason Avant and Hank Baskett. And then there's No. 1 draft pick Jeremy Maclin.

In four years, Brown has gone from being in Maclin's shoes - as the future - to possibly being the odd man out.

"It's weird, but I understand my position right now," Brown said. "I understand what I need to do to get back to having a chance to be a starter."

Brown declined to say if he has asked for a trade. The Eagles are more likely to trade Brown than cut him. He is about to enter the first year of a six-year contract extension he signed in 2006, and dumping the 28-year-old would cost the team nearly $3 million against the salary cap.

Earning that contract is certainly enough incentive, but so, too, was not suiting up for the NFC title game against the Cardinals.

"It was definitely motivation," Brown said.

After the season, he took a week off and cleared his mind. And then he went about working himself back into shape, back up the depth chart, and back into the right frame of mind.

"Players don't like having a year where it's up and down," Reid said. "He was banged up. He stayed up here the whole off-season and conditioned. So he's in great shape, very focused, and he wants to get back to staying healthy and playing."

Contact staff writer Jeff McLane at 215-854-4745 or jmclane@phillynews.com.