The Eagles signed veteran linebacker Dannell Ellerbe on Monday and waived cornerback Dexter McDougle, adding depth and experience to a linebacker group that lost Jordan Hicks for the season.
"Versatility; I can play more than one position," Ellerbe said about what he can provide. "And help them win."
Ellerbe, 31, is in his ninth NFL season. He has played for the Baltimore Ravens, Miami Dolphins, and New Orleans Saints. Ellerbe's best years came in Baltimore, where he signed as an undrafted rookie in 2009 while Joe Douglas was on the Ravens scouting staff. He was a major part of the defense that helped win a Super Bowl in the 2012 season. The Saints cut Ellerbe during the summer after he recovered from a broken foot. He said his foot has been healthy all season.
"It was 100 percent before we started training camp," Ellerbe said.
Ellerbe worked out for the Eagles a few weeks ago, but they did not sign him then. He knew he would sign late last week and kept it quiet until word started to spread Sunday night. He said he's here to play and believes he should have been in the NFL all season.
"I've always had a chip on my shoulder ever since I came into the league," Ellerbe said. "I don't think the chip would ever leave, even with a Super Bowl."
At 6-foot-1 and 245 pounds, Ellerbe could help on base downs. The Eagles have been playing Joe Walker at middle linebacker in those packages. Ellerbe said he is a "balanced" linebacker who can play against the run and the pass, and he likes to blitz, too. He has 10 1/2 career sacks, including four last season with New Orleans. Ellerbe has not played special teams since 2012, so it's not yet known if he'll be asked to contribute there with the Eagles.
McDougle played eight games for the Eagles this season after they acquired him in a deal for Terrence Brooks during the summer. With Ronald Darby expected to return this week, the Eagles have depth in the secondary and McDougle was the odd man out.
Tight end Zach Ertz practiced Monday without limitations after missing the Eagles' Week 9 win over Denver with a hamstring injury. He spent the bye week rehabbing the injury.
"We'll see how the week goes," Ertz said. "Obviously, I thought I would play last Sunday, wasn't able to go, so will take it day-by-day."
He tried playing against the Broncos but couldn't get comfortable during pregame warm-ups. "When you're not mentally 100 percent going into a game, it's not fair to the team, not fair to myself to go and push it and risk something further," Ertz said.
Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, an advocate for social justice, spoke at a rally Monday evening in Center City in support of rapper Meek Mill.
Mill was sentenced to two-to-four years in prison last week for probation violations, a sentence that surprised some observers. Jenkins, speaking at his locker after practice, called the Mill sentence "an example of how our criminal justice system is failing our communities. [The rally] is an opportunity to really raise awareness."