THE EAGLES began their offseason conditioning program yesterday with no notable absences, according to a couple of players who attended.
The only thing close to drama was supplied by left guard Evan Mathis. Last month at the NFL Meetings it came out that Mathis and agent Drew Rosenhaus had been given permission to seek a trade, after asking the team for more money, but the Eagles wanted a third- or fourth-round draft choice for Mathis, who, at 32, is the oldest starting guard in the NFL. That was never going to happen, and it's extremely likely that Mathis will play this season for the Eagles under the terms of the 5-year, $25.5 million contract he signed 2 years ago.
But, of course, that doesn't mean Mathis has to be happy about it. When reporters asked Mathis via Twitter Sunday night whether he planned to appear yesterday for the optional workouts, Mathis sent them "location pins" - one reporter got Turks and Caicos Islands, another got Tijuana. This turned out to be a joke from the guy whose Twitter bio identifies him as a "sitdown comic." Mathis was at NovaCare yesterday.
It would be nice to talk to players about the 2014 outlook as they assemble en masse for the first time since January, but the Eagles are only making them available individually by request, if the player feels like talking. An Eagles spokesman said yesterday quarterback Nick Foles doesn't "want to do anything this week."
Eagles coach Chip Kelly, who still hasn't spoken about the release of wide receiver DeSean Jackson late last month, is not expected to be available.
This week's activity is a conditioning program; no supervised onfield work is permitted. That won't happen until May 27-29, much later than usual this year, as is the case with the May 8-10 entry draft.
The NFL is expected to release the regular-season schedule tomorrow or Thursday.