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Austin passes physical, signs with Eagles

Miles Austin revamped his warm-up regimen before last season to shake the "injury-prone" label that now follows the 30-year-old receiver to the Eagles.

Miles Austin revamped his warm-up regimen before last season to shake the "injury-prone" label that now follows the 30-year-old receiver to the Eagles.

Austin played the first 11 games of 2014 for the Cleveland Browns without major problems with his hamstring, which forced him to miss 11 games in his final three seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. Then, he suffered a lacerated kidney in the 12th game, ending his season and bringing him onto the free-agent market after another unfinished campaign.

"I don't even know how you lacerate a kidney without stabbing yourself," Austin said Tuesday. "Obviously, there's nothing I can do about a kidney. But I felt as good as I've felt last year physically, with my legs. I'm just going to continue that, learn some stuff here, and go on from there."

This is now the Eagles' risk. Austin passed his physical and signed Tuesday. He will earn $2.3 million with up to $700,000 in incentives, The Inquirer reported Monday.

The Eagles were the first team Austin visited. Free agency opened three weeks ago. So it would seem there was not a robust market, even though the Eagles could pay Austin more than he earned last season in Cleveland.

Austin spoke on a conference call. Coach Chip Kelly was not available for comment.

In explaining his decision to join the Eagles, Austin pointed to the opportunity to win; the proximity to his native Summit, N.J., and Monmouth, his alma mater; and his new teammates.

But the salary and opportunity for playing time were likely significant factors, too.

Wide receiver is a need for the Eagles after Jeremy Maclin signed with Kansas City. The Eagles are encouraged by 2014 rookies Jordan Matthews and Josh Huff. Kelly is also bullish about this year's draft class at wideout.

Austin, 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds, joins Riley Cooper as a veteran at the position, and he might be in position to earn playing time. He did not know the role that the team plans for him, but Austin would not seem to be an ideal fit as a reserve receiver because he has not played special teams in recent seasons. In fact, Austin could point only to a role on the "hands" team and on pooch punts as recent work.

"I'm not against doing anything," Austin said. "It doesn't matter where they want me to go. I'm down to do it."

What the Eagles get is a two-time Pro Bowler who becomes the most accomplished receiver on the roster. However, he has not reached the Pro Bowl since 2010 and has played only one full season since then.

Austin said the changes he made before last season helped his legs and could reduce the risk of soft-tissue injury. Like other players the Eagles have signed, though, he must prove he can stay healthy and still be the player the team saw before the ailments.

"I'm 30 now, so I'm sure I probably lost some bit of explosiveness from being 22 years old," Austin said. "But I don't think it's that much. Honestly, I feel good. I feel healthy. I feel like with a slight loss, potentially . . . of burst, I think the fact that I know the game more, I can still do what needs to be done."