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Eagles' Reid gets players to coach - high school players

Andy Reid was encircled by football players in green uniforms with Eagles emblems and the coach was . . . well, coaching.

Eagles coach Andy Reid shakes hands with Dajuan Franks, a lineman from Frankford.
Eagles coach Andy Reid shakes hands with Dajuan Franks, a lineman from Frankford.Read moreRON CORTES / Staff Photographer

Andy Reid was encircled by football players in green uniforms with Eagles emblems and the coach was . . . well, coaching.

"You knock the crap out of each other, but nobody gets hurt. Head up, feet moving," a fired-up Reid said Tuesday before he called the troops together. "All right, somebody get in here and break this down, man!"

And then, on three, they did: "One, two, three - Philadelphia!"

It felt just like any Eagles practice at the NovaCare Complex, except it wasn't.

Reid was addressing nearly 100 Philadelphia-area high school football players who were preparing for Saturday's City High School All-Star Classic at Lincoln Financial Field.

Normally at this time he would have his own players to energize. But the NFL lockout is in Day 67 with no end in sight.

"This is what we do. We coach," Reid said when asked if he missed his team. "Would we like to have the players here to coach? Absolutely."

At some point, Reid expects to have his team back. On Monday, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals granted a stay until an appeal on the legality of the lockout is heard on June 3. Negotiations between the owners and players have been shelved under after the appeal, so the lockout won't be lifted until mid-June at the earliest.

Because the appellate court is expected to rule in favor of the owners, many observers have forecast a lockout that extends into July and beyond. Even though the work stoppage has all but wiped out minicamps, Reid said the Eagles could squeeze one in if a settlement is reached before training camp in late July.

"The coaches know that vacation this year will be a little bit different," Reid said Tuesday. "You don't want to be taking camel rides in the Sahara Desert."

Likewise, Reid said the team was prepared to hold training camp any time before the first game. "Anything [later], we don't need camp," he quipped.

While the team has been in constant communication with Lehigh University - site of Eagles training camps since 1995 - Reid said the team did not have a cutoff date for canceling a trip to the Bethlehem campus.

In the meantime, some Eagles have said they plan to organize informal practices in the near future. Reid, who said he was pleased that quarterback Michael Vick was heading the group, added that the get-togethers could have some value.

"Is it practice at the same tempo you're going to do here? No," Reid said. "But it at least keeps them fresh."

Reid was able to meet with Vick and a number of players when the lockout was briefly lifted on the second day of the draft. Playbooks were handed out, while many were FedEx'd to players who did not show up at the NovaCare Complex, Reid said.

The Eagles have also made preparations for free agency once league business resumes.

"It's a good, aggressive plan," Reid said. "When they say go, we're ready to go."

Could that mean the Eagles will pursue all-pro cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha? Or could that mean they will deal backup quarterback Kevin Kolb for a starting right cornerback and use free agency to address holes on the defensive line?

The Kolb will-he-be-traded-or-not story line has dominated offseason speculation, but that's all it is - speculation. Reid confirmed again that the Eagles had "quite a few teams" interested in acquiring the 26-year-old before the lockout ceased discussions about player trades.

But a number of teams drafted quarterbacks last month, so Reid said he wasn't sure how many still want to acquire Kolb and if the offers would be enough to entice the Eagles.

"If he ends up going somewhere, more power to him. He deserves that opportunity," Reid said later on Comcast SportsNet. "But I also like him here. It's a little bit of a catch-22."

April on kickers. Special-teams coordinator Bobby April provided a little more detail on why the Eagles drafted Nebraska kicker Alex Henery, seemingly paving the way for free agent David Akers' departure.

"I think David wants to be here, but I don't know if it's going to work out financially," April said. "Or maybe somebody else says, 'We're going to give him this amount.' Even if he wants to come back, it's a Godfather deal - an offer he can't refuse."

April and Eagles defensive coordinator Juan Castillo will be honorary coaches in Saturday's All-Star Classic.