The Eagles released punter Durant Brooks yesterday. Brooks was signed early in the offseason and was touted as viable competition to OK-but-not-overwhelming Sav Rocca. His demise leaves Ken Parrish as Rocca's only competition, which is interesting, because Parrish, signed and cut last year, spent his downtime productively - not only trying to refine his punting but also continuing his experiment in learning to kick off.

New special-teams coordinator Bobby April mentioned this recently; April seemed intrigued by the idea of having a punter who could take kickoff duties off the 35-year-old shoulders of David Akers.

You might recall Parrish from last year as the Monroe County police officer, son of a captain, who quit the force to take another shot at the NFL, 2 years after a preseason fling with the 49ers. Parrish, who played at East Stroudsburg, was cut during training camp at Lehigh; he later got a look with the Jets. The Eagles signed him again this spring.

"I guess I did good enough last year that they wanted to bring me back and see it again," Parrish said after yesterday's rookie-camp workout. "Last year was my first real year of going at it live [with kicking], so I'm just fine-tuning every day.

"Punting and kickoff is two different swings, all different muscles and everything like that. I think that's why a lot of people get confused on it . . .

"I want to be good at both of them, not just be like, 'Oh, he's good because he's a combo guy.' I want to perfect what I can do at both those positions . . . Sav is a great guy and he's got a great leg. I'm just going to go toe-to-toe with my game plan," Parrish said.

Up in smoke

Defensive tackle Mike Patterson was working out at NovaCare yesterday morning when he was summoned to the parking lot, where security officers, soon supplemented by the Philadelphia Fire Department, were putting out a fire that started in the engine of Patterson's SUV, a highly customized GMC with California plates.

In the aftermath, Patterson's ride looked pretty well toasted, sporting a baked-on coating of fire-retardant spray. Damage to adjoining cars was limited to splatter from the spray. *