Rookie Camp's a Wrap; Fountain a Casualty
Defensive tackle Maurice Fountain suffered a season-ending injury in rookie camp, but the sessions were helpful to some potential Eagles who are trying to rebuild their careers
The Eagles wrapped up three days of rookie camp Monday with an indoor workout under drizzy skies at NovaCare.
The major casualty was defensive tackle Maurice Fountain, the oldest participant, who turns 30 in September. Fountain, a member of the Eagles' practice squad last season, tore his right patellar tendon in the final minutes of Sunday afternoon's workout, Eagles coach Andy Reid confirmed.
Reid said Fountain was making a good showing before suffering the injury, which almost certainly ended his 2012 season. It might be a career-ender as well, but Reid tried to bolster Fountain's spirits by calling him "a young 29" because he hasn't been worn down by playing in the NFL. Fountain has played in the Arena League, the UFL and the CFL since going undrafted out of Clemson in 2005.
"He's one of my favorite guys," Reid said. "He just does everything that he's asked to ... He can play at the next level and he was on course to do that. You don't like seeing that happen, but he's a young kid and he'll bust his tail to get back."
Two of the rookie camp standouts, at least to untrained Eagletarian eyes, were Oregon safety Cliff Harris and Tulsa wideout/returner Demaris Johnson. Those two, Syracuse safety Phillip Thomas, and Kansas State running back Bryce Brown all got into trouble of some sort or another that affected their draft stock. Eagles general manager Howie Roseman has said the team is reevaluating how it defines "character," giving a little slack to guys who seem decent and remorseful, and who didn't do anything that hurt anyone. Reid expanded on that Monday.
"We have a couple guys we're giving a second chance to, really," Reid said. "They goofed up. We felt through our evaluation process that they're not bad kids, we're going to give 'em a chance. They know they goofed up, which is important. They've admitted they goofed up, which is even more important. We'll see if there's a change that takes place ... Do they know there are not a lot of second chances in this world? Yeah. They're getting one, and we'll see what they do with it."
Johnson's speed has really stood out among the wideouts. He missed the 2011 season after a felony ebezzlement charge was brought, stemming from merchandise he got from a Tulsa Macy's where his girlfriend worked. Johnson acknowledged paying $13 for more than $2,800 worth of stuff. He and his girlfriend, Chamron Jones, worked out a plea under which their records will be expunged after a year of probation and commiunity service.
"I'm very thankful to the Eagles for giving me the opportunity," Johnson said. "That's why I go out every day and just try to show them everything that I've got."
Johnson said he isn't dwelling on his lost senior season, and not getting drafted. "I took it that everything happens for a reason, I got a year off from football, just thinking about my mistakes, just thinking about how much I loved the game, how much I took it for granted at one point."
Johnson is the all-time NCAA leader in total yardage ((7,796) and kickoff return yardage (3,417) despite missing his senior season.