TROY VINCENT yesterday reiterated remarks the NFL executive vice president of football operations originally made last month, saying that during his 15-year career as a defensive back, eight of which were spent with the Eagles, Vincent played with half a dozen openly gay teammates.
After yesterday's roundtable discussion in New York between NFL officials and members of the Associated Press Sports Editors, Vincent told the Daily News some of those players were Eagles. He did not elaborate.
The topic arose during a discussion of Michael Sam, the openly gay defensive end from Missouri who is expected to be selected at some point during the May 8-10 NFL draft.
"It's nothing new to the players," said Vincent, who said the gay players he knew were "out" to teammates, but not to the public. "We look to support Michael."
Asked whether having gay teammates "worked," Vincent said: "Yes, it worked. We won many football games. They were players. We didn't see 'em as anything different. We watched film together, we traveled together, they were our roommates on the road. We just performed as players . . . and I don't think the players today will treat'em any differently."
The NFL and DeSean
At the same roundtable, Adolpho Birch, the NFL senior vice president of law and labor policy, said the league has looked into DeSean Jackson's alleged gang ties.
"There's no indication that that was the case, with respect to him," Birch said.
The NFLPA has said it will investigate whether the Eagles tried to smear Jackson. The Birds released him minutes after NJ.com posted a story whose headline said the team was uncomfortable with Jackson's ties to members of the Crips.
Birch indicated the league was satisfied with the actions of the Eagles and the Redskins, the close NFC East rivals who quickly signed Jackson.
"I think we are comfortable that the decisions that were made on both ends were football decisions," Birch said.
Daily News executive sports editor Chuck Bausman contributed to this report.