BYRON MAXWELL sees an environment in Philadelphia like the one he experienced in Seattle, Maxwell said yesterday. He did not seem to be referencing the wet ground or the blustery skies, as Maxwell introduced himself to a new city after signing a contract billed at 6 years and $63 million, with $25 million guaranteed.
"It was just an easy match, it was just a perfect fit," Maxwell said. "A lot of the things they're doing here are similar" to Seattle. "It just meshed."
Maxwell referenced the emphasis on "daily habits," Chip Kelly's "win the day" dictum.
He said it was a tough decision to leave Seattle, where he appeared in two Super Bowls, winning one, but he was very impressed with Kelly (and with the size of Jeffrey Lurie's checkbook, apparently, but he didn't say that).
Maxwell, 27 and 6-1, 207, said what he likes about Kelly is that "football is his life, and basically, football is my life. It's easy, when you see that in a person."
Maxwell said he likes the fact that he'll be playing "Cover 3 man-press" as he did at corner for the Seahawks. Asked how he thinks he'll fare against the elite NFC East receivers, such as Dez Bryant and Odell Beckham Jr., Maxwell said: "I like my chances."
The Eagles added Maxwell's former Seattle teammate, corner Walter Thurmond, signed to a 1-year contract yesterday. Thurmond was with the Giants last season but missed all but two games with a torn pectoral muscle. He presumably will compete with Nolan Carroll and Brandon Boykin for the starting job opposite Maxwell.
Brandon Graham said that contrary to what you might have heard, he always thought he'd return to the Eagles. Graham said that as sorry as he was to see mentor Trent Cole go last week, once Cole was released, Graham became pretty much certain he'd be back, as Cole's successor at outside linebacker.
"It didn't take but a day to get stuff done," said the Birds' 2010 first-round pick, who can earn $26 million over 4 years, with $14 million guaranteed, on his new deal. "I'm just happy it's over, and excited to be here. I just can't wait to see what's going to happen. I know all this crazy stuff's been going on, but I trust and believe in what [Chip Kelly] is going to do.
"When Chip first came in, we talked about establishing trust. I feel like, through the past 2 years, we've been winning 10 games [per season]. He's gained my trust . . . People might question him, but I really feel like he's just doing what he thinks is best for the team, and I feel like all he wants to do is win championships, and if he's got to do something crazy to do it, so be it, I'm with him, all the way."
Graham said he especially looks forward to his first chance to be a full-time starter.
"I just can't wait to show what I've been doing this offseason," he said.
Chip, have I got a deal for you . . .
There was much buzz yesterday after ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported that the NFL's reigning leading rusher, DeMarco Murray, had called Chip Kelly to pitch his services.
Last night, a source confirmed to the Daily News that Murray would visit the Eagles today.
Most observers seem to think that Murray will end up returning to Dallas, but clearly, the Cowboys haven't come up with an offer Murray likes, and he wouldn't mind generating a little marketplace buzz.
The Birds were nailing down a so-far-unannounced deal with oft-injured Chargers back Ryan Mathews right about the time Murray was chatting the Chipster, though, so Murray would tend to crowd the backfield here a little, unless you take the view that either Mathews or Chris Polk is likely to miss a bunch of time.
Quarterback Sam Bradford, Murray's former Oklahoma roommate, said he'd been lobbying Murray to come with him to NovaCare.
"I've been trying my hardest," Bradford said. "I called him. I've texted him. I've done everything . . . Not only is he a great player, he's a great person. He's a close friend of mine. I really think he can help this ballclub."