BETHLEHEM, Pa. -
and the three other quarterbacks weren't the only Eagles wearing the red do-not-touch jerseys yesterday during the team's first full-squad workout of training camp at Lehigh University.
Tight end L.J. Smith donned a red No. 82 mesh shirt over his jersey to make absolutely sure no one hit him, even though he was involved in a seven-on-seven non-contact drill. The fact that Smith was on the field at all is an encouraging sign for both the player and the team.
Smith, who underwent surgery to repair a sports hernia in May, appeared to be moving well. He said he felt good, but when the pads go on and the contact begins today at Lehigh, the Eagles' starting tight end will be watching from the sideline. Coach Andy Reid said last week that he planned to keep Smith out of live contact for at least the first three days.
"He's worked very hard to get to that point," Reid said. "I can't tell you I expected that a month ago, but he worked himself into the position where he could do it. I'm not going to rush him back into anything."
Smith said he was about 85 percent.
"I'm a little bit away from where I want to be," he said. "Doing this helps get my confidence up because it forces me to do some cutting and changing direction. I haven't done those things in some time."
It's possible that Smith will be held out of the Eagles' Aug. 13 preseason opener against Baltimore, but he said he wants to play before the start of the regular season.
"I think everybody does," he said. "You can't just step into the regular season. Some guys are forced to do that because of injuries, but if you have a chance to play, I think it's good to get out there."
Smith is entering the final year of the five-year contract he signed when he was a rookie, which means he can become a free agent in March. He said the team had not had any recent conversations with his agent, Brian Mackler, but his focus is elsewhere right now.
"There are bigger goals - like going out and winning the Super Bowl," Smith said. "Me and [former Eagles safety] Michael Lewis are good friends, but I think when he was in this situation last year it affected him. The best advice I've received is not to let it affect how you play on the field. If I do bad, I'm only hurting myself."
Reid said he believed that McNabb would be ready for full participation today.
"For the most part, he'll do everything," the coach said. "He did everything this afternoon, and he's getting stronger every day. If I see something in there I don't like, I won't hesitate to pull him out. If I think his leg is getting tired, or whatever it is, I'll pull him out. Right now, he feels good about doing everything. Nobody is going to touch the quarterback, so he'll be all right."
For the first time since the rookies reported to camp Friday, Reid had some players on his injury report. Linebacker
missed practice with a foot strain, wide receiver
was sidelined by a quadriceps bruise, and veteran defensive tackle
left practice with a sore knee. Reagor, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in the off-season, said he felt sore during the team's conditioning run in the morning. . . . Linebacker
was surprised when
threw a deep flea-flicker pass to
during practice. "They're pulling out all the stops," Gaither said. Brown couldn't make the catch. . . .
rotated in with the first team at cornerback, replacing both
at various times.
were the first-team defensive ends.
were the first-team tackles.