THE EAGLES ended their OTAs yesterday with one piece of business left to complete.
By a little after 10 o'clock last night, they'd completed it. At 10:25, the team announced that the final 2 years of Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb's contract have been restructured. Details were not immediately available. McNabb was scheduled to make about $9.2 million this season, $10 million next season, under terms of a deal signed in 2002, but that money was not guaranteed. It is believed that McNabb will get a raise and some guaranteed 2010 cash in the reworking.
McNabb and Eagles coach Andy Reid are scheduled to address the media today at 10 a.m. at NovaCare.
"Donovan has played a large part of this team's success over the last 10 years," Eagles chairman Jeffrey Lurie said in a statement released by the team. "He has been a professional in every sense of the word."
Team president Joe Banner said the Eagles are "thrilled that this all worked out." Banner added that McNabb "is a great football player, a great person, and someone who gives back to the community. We are lucky to have him in Philadelphia."
Reid, not surprisingly, concurred.
"The Philadelphia Eagles organization and the entire city of Philadelphia are fortunate to have a quarterback the caliber of Donovan McNabb," Reid said. "He has proven himself to be a talented player on the field, a caring member of the Philadelphia community, and a winner."
As McNabb prepares for his 11th season as an Eagle, the player the team took second overall in the 1999 draft is the franchise's all-time leader in passing yards (29,320), touchdown passes (194), attempts (4,303), and completions (2,534). He has led the Eagles to more regular-season victories (82) and playoff appearances (seven) than any other quarterback in team history.
Earlier yesterday, in Reid's news conference wrapping up the on-field activity until training camp commences at Lehigh on July 26, the coach responded to a question about McNabb's state of mind by saying the quarterback "seems happy, if that matters. He seems to be in a great place right now. I can't say I haven't seen that before."
McNabb began the offseason seeking answers about where he stood going forward, after a controversial benching for the second half of a game in Baltimore last Nov. 23, and a contract adjustment. Initially, the Birds and agent Fletcher Smith were talking about an extension, which proved difficult to consummate. The NFL collective-bargaining agreement is up, and right now, 2010 is an uncapped year. Figuring out what McNabb, 32, should be paid several years from now is difficult. Reworking the final 2 years is simpler. It also keeps the team's options open beyond 2010.
The announcement of the agreement wasn't a surprise. Smith flew to Philadelphia yesterday for a dinner at which McNabb was honored by the local chapter of the American Diabetes Association as a "Father of the Year." McNabb presumably will be heading to his offseason home in Arizona now that the OTAs are over; wideout Jeremy Maclin said yesterday that McNabb will host receivers to work on timing out there in mid-July. So today seemed a very logical time for a press conference.
Ready to roll
"We're going to keep an eye on him, but I think he'll be ready to go, yeah," Reid said. "We'll ease him into it and see how he does."
Reid added that Shawn Andrews, Stacy's brother, "looks comfortable" at right tackle, where he moved from right guard.
But Reid continued to keep the door open to former right tackle Jon Runyan, as Runyan recovers from microfracture surgery.
"Shawn is doing a nice job, and Jon is doing a great job of getting himself ready to play, and we'll just see how things work out down the road here," Reid said.
Other states, such as Massachusetts with the Patriots, already have purchased the licensing rights from the local NFL club and run lotto games, usually for cash prizes. Pennsylvania hopes to have a game similar to one it debuted in 2008 that includes the Phillies and Pirates. That contest is $5 per ticket, with prizes ranging from $5 to $100,000.
Corner Jack Ikegwuonu's comeback from a year off following knee surgery seemed to get a boost from the OTAs. Andy Reid said Ikegwuonu's leg "showed improvement every week here" . . . The Eagles announced the signing of fifth-round tight end Cornelius Ingram and created roster space by waiving three players - veteran defensive tackle Amon Gordon and free-agent rookies Walter Mendenhall, a running back from Illinois State, and Adam DiMichele, the former Temple quarterback. Gordon tore an Achilles' and was waived/injured, meaning he gets a settlement . . . Asked what Asante Samuel's absence from the second week of OTAs meant for Samuel's stated desire to be a defensive leader, Reid said: "We'll see how he does when he comes back for camp. I don't think he'll be any different than what he was out here" . . . Defensive end Bryan Smith missed the final day with a swollen knee . . . Reid said Brian Westbrook has "started his rehab process and is working to get ready for training camp." * Negotiations on a possible Pennsylvania Lottery instant scratch-off game featuring logos for the Eagles and Steelers continue.
Andy Reid indicated that when the Birds convene at Lehigh (rookies July 26, vets July 29), the plan for the offensive line will stay as it has been in minicamps, with new right guard Stacy Andrews finally ready to test his repaired knee.