Philadelphia Eagles Mini-Camp Ends as Team Prepares for 2002-03 Season (Update)
Wednesday, June 26, 2002
By David W. Unkle
The Philadelphia Eagles on Tuesday June 25 announced that they have signed SS Michael Lewis, the club's first of two 2nd round draft choices, to a five-year contract. As is club policy terms of the deal were not announced. A two-time All-Big Twelve Conference first-team selection, Lewis (6-1, 211) earned third team All-America honors and was a semi-finalist for the Thorpe Award, given to the nation's top defensive back, as a senior. He closed out his career ranked 9th on the school's all-time list with 336 tackles, 2nd-best among defensive backs. Lewis' 10 forced fumbles ranked him 2nd in the Colorado record book, while his 9 INTs tied him for 12th all-time. His 6.5 career sacks are a Colorado record for defensive backs. In his final season, led the squad with 112 tackles and 5 INTs, one of which he returned for a TD. A native of Richmond, TX, Lewis won the Colorado's Dave Jones Award for the most outstanding defensive player and the Hale Irwin Award for the most outstanding defensive back in both his junior and senior seasons. The 22-year old was selected with the 58th pick overall.
The Philadelphia Eagles' last of three mini-camps came to a close yesterday at the team's Nova Care practice facilities in Philadelphia. In less than six weeks, the team begins training camp at Lehigh University as they prepare to defend their NFC East title and begin their pursuit of a Super Bowl Championship. In case you're counting, the last Eagles team to win a championship was the 1960's team of Chuck Bednarik, Pete Retzlaff, Tommy McDonald, Norm Van Brocklin to name a few, that defeated the Green Bay Packers 17-13. That Eagles team accomplished what no other team had ever done - they defeated Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers in a post-season game. Be sure to read: The 1960 Philadelphia Eagles...The Team That They Said had Nothing But a Championship by Robert Gordon. The book can be purchased at Barnes&Noble.com, SportsPublishingLLC.com, or by calling toll free 1.877.424.BOOK.
"RB Correll Buckhalter did not make it through this camp with the ACL tear and surgery. He is doing well with his rehab and he is working very hard at that. P Sean Landeta is ahead of schedule with his knee surgery. He'll be back for camp. WR Gari Scott has an ankle sprain and I let Gari go a couple days separate from the ankle sprain for personal reasons. With the ankle, it's too early to tell about training camp. WR Sean Scott had the high ankle sprain, he should be ready for training camp," said Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid.
Opening Remarks of Eagles' Head Coach, Andy Reid (6/19/02)
"I thought this was a pretty good mini-camp. We did get some things accomplished. The players had a high energy throughout the two weeks. They had a taste of the heat last week and it cooled off a little this week. We were able to work against the NFC East opponents. There have been some changes in the vision here. We were able to work against those changes. I liked the work ethic that the guys came in with and the attitude. They will continue to condition themselves for training camp. We look forward to getting them back and getting things going...I like what we have on the roster right now. We will win games with the players who are right here. Does that mean we shut our eyes to things that happen? No, we won't do that. We always continue to look and we'll see what happens."
"I think we have a chance to be a better defense with the additions we have added there with SS Blaine Bishop and LB Shawn Barber. I have a lot of respect for both of those players. They have worked through their injuries. You have seen out there the last week and a half, what they can do. They are making plays. I know it's only a mini-camp. Those are veteran players. We have seen what they can do with pads on. I look forward to them getting into training camp and cranking it up. I think we truly do have a chance to be better. I like the draft picks we've had in then secondary. That gives us more options. The offense is another year older. What you saw for the last four of five games left in the season, you saw maturity in the receivers and the quarterback and the offensive lineman continued to improve. The running back situation is stable. We'll be off to the races. [Regarding running back Dorsey Levins] We have not gone either way with that. He's out there; we know he's out there. I made sure I took a close look at our young guys. I still want to do that in training camp when we put the pads on. Will something happen there? I can't tell you either way."
[Regarding quarterback Donovan McNabb] "I think you will see him continue to build on what you saw in the latter quarter of the season. He had a great challenge ahead of him coming in with receivers that he wasn't real familiar with. They developed a relationship there and it took off that last quarter of the season. You will continue to see that improve throughout this year. As accurate as a passer he is, he'll be even more accurate a passer this year. In particular on his off-balance throws."
Assorted Comments from the Mini-Camps
"...I think guys are ahead of schedule [compared to last year]...I think we're further ahead of last year. I think the young guys caught on real quick and they're ready to go. You know you can't really tell until you put on the pads. Guys have a month and a half to relax and then we go...they [Eagles coaching staff] say they're confident in what we have...but you never know... teams are always trying to get better."
"I never go into a season thinking I'm just going to be a return man, I go in there getting ready to play running back."
[Discussing the run defense] "I don't think we need to make any changes...I know that was the big thing but its just a technique thing and an assignment thing...we've got the players...we've got the best defensive end in the NFL and we probably have the best young defensive end (Hugh Douglas) in Derrick Burgess and you can't say enough about Corey Simon and Hollis Thomas, so I don't think any personnel changes need to be made, we just have to work on our technique."
[On the role of veteran players in supporting rookies] "The [defensive] leader of the team is Troy Vincent and so I'm sure he's talked to them and if he hasn't all they have to do is watch him and mimic how he conducts himself...Brian Dawkins, Bobby Taylor...we have so many great veterans in the backfield."
"I think this was a good camp. I like the intensity level...I like the way they came in and went to work...their commitment this off-season has shown and I expect it to continue show...it looks like we're in pretty good shape...especially the young guys."
"N.D. [Eagles Linebacker/Defensive Lineman N.D. Kalu] is doing a nice job moving to the linebacker position, the strong side linebacker position. He's working hard and catching up on the position...he's a big guy that can move around very well...he wants to do that and that's half the battle. At the same time, we're keeping him a little bit alive there at the defensive line position. As he gets a more of a grasp of the outside linebacker position...we'll let him get down and get a few more rushes from defensive end."
"It's a great learning experience [Eagles mini-camps]...I came out and played hard...I wanted to show the coaches and my teammates what I can do."
"At this point, I want to keep trying to learn plays and hopefully things will keep going well for myself and my teammates."
Eagles Third Round Draft Choice Michael Westbrook (April mini-camp)
"It was my first time out there [since his Lisfranc foot sprain] reading and reacting, cutting, planting, back-pedaling at a pace like that...it's exciting just to be back out there...I feel like I'm back...it a great [defensive] scheme and I'm excited to be in it...I hope I get to do some things that I enjoy...blitzing. It's an attacking style defense...we can dictate to the offense."
[Discussing the Washington Redskins offense under Head Coach Steve Spurrier] "I think we're going to drop all eleven men into coverage...according to what he did in Florida with five and six receiver sets...right now all we have to go by is what he did in Florida."
"Some of the times we got hurt on the run were on blitzes...as a defensive front, we need solid consistent play out of all of us on the front seven."
"It the same thing for me that has been going on for thirteen years, when I was in Washington, Dallas was the most hated team and I came here and it's the exact same here. The fans get into it and that brings a little bit more into the game. Our fans and their fans really go at it so when we get on the field, we want our fans to have bragging rights."
[On facing the new look Washington Redskins] "It's not going to affect our approach at all. We just have to handle our business. They're going to have a new style of offense; they think they're going to throw it around but I think you're going to see Stephen Davis running the ball a lot...we just have to be prepared for their new offense and I think our offense will be ready for it...the success that the offense had in college is not going to be as successful in the pros because you don't have Vanderbilts [Vanderbilt University] in this league. Every week you have to be prepared to play."
Draft Choice Signings
The Philadelphia Eagles today announced that they have signed WR Freddie Milons, the club's 5th round draft choice, to a three-year contract. As is club policy, terms of the deal were not announced.
One of the most prolific receivers and kick returners in Alabama history, Milons (5'11", 190) holds the Crimson Tide record with 152 receptions and his 1,859 yards are topped only by Ozzie Newsome (2,070). He ranks third in school annals with 40 kickoff returns for 917 yards (22.9 avg.) and fourth with 3,449 all-purpose yards. He also had 431 yards and 3 touchdowns on 43 punt returns and was 32-242-1TD rushing.
As a senior, Milons led the team with 36 catches for 626 yards and 3 touchdowns. He had a standout sophomore year, earning first-team All-SEC honors after setting an Alabama record with 65 receptions for 733 yards and 2 touchdowns. A native of Starkville, Mississippi, Milons was selected with the 162nd pick overall.
On Wednesday, the Philadelphia Eagles announced the signing of rookie center/guard Scott Peters to a three-year contract. Selected in the fourth round (the 124th pick overall) in the April draft, Peters (6'3", 300) was responsible for making all of the calls on the offensive line as a four-year starter at Arizona State. As a senior, Peters was a finalist for the Rimington Award (named after former Eagle Dave Rimington), which is given to the nation's top center. He earned first-team All-Pac 10 honors as the offense generated 4,690 yards, and produced a 1,000-yard rusher in Delvon Flowers.
Peters was also a first-team All-Pac 10 selection as a junior. He moved to center as a sophomore, after starting nine games at guard as a red-shirt freshman. The 23-year-old native of Pleasanton, CA, finished his career with 43 straight starts for the Sun Devils. Peters graduated with a degree in communications in May of 2001.
Eagles' Football Media Relations
Congratulations to the Philadelphia Eagles Media Relations Team (Derek Boyko, Rich Burg, Bob Lange and Pete Stamatacos) which was recently awarded the Rozelle Award by the Pro Football Writers of America. The Rozelle award is given to the NFL public relations department that has gone above and beyond the call of duty to assist the media.
Be sure to check out the Philadelphia Eagles' website at www.philadelphiaeagles.com for schedules and training camp information.
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