Skip to main content

Brown isn't ready to concede his starting job

BETHLEHEM, Pa. (AP) -Sheldon Brown intercepted Kevin Kolb's pass and ran it back for a touchdown during Philadelphia Eagles training camp, waving his finger in the air the whole way.

Brown is no showboat. But the veteran cornerback may have a little extra motivation now that he's competing for playing time.

"I have fun every time I play the game," Brown said Tuesday. "It doesn't matter if it's (practice) or game day."

Practice may dictate who plays more when Philadelphia lines up for real games this season. After the Eagles signed All-Pro cornerback Asante Samuel to a megacontract on the first day of the NFL's free-agency period, it appeared the disgruntled Lito Sheppard would be sent elsewhere. But the team's inability to trade Sheppard has left the secondary crowded.

Defensive coordinator Jim Johnson and coach Andy Reid insist Samuel, Sheppard and Brown will be used in a rotation, giving the team perhaps the best cornerback trio in the league. It's more likely that Sheppard or Brown will end up getting squeezed because Samuel didn't get a six-year, $57 million deal to share time.

Sheppard, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, already was unhappy with his contract before the team gave Samuel his position on the left side. He's expressed his displeasure with the current situation and hired agent Drew Rosenhaus to get him a new deal or get him out of Philly. Brown isn't one for complaining.

"At the end of the day, the best players will be on the field," Brown said. "You can't have bitter feelings about that. As long as we do what we do, we'll all get what we deserve at the end.

"They understand the plays I can make and what I bring to the table. You can fall in love with the new guy or anybody coming in, but the film don't lie."

The Eagles drafted Brown and Sheppard with two of their three picks in the first two rounds in 2002. Both became full-time starters in '04, replacing longtime starters Troy Vincent and Bobby Taylor. The 29-year-old Brown has 13 career interceptions and three touchdowns. Sheppard, 27, has 17 picks and three touchdowns, including two 100-plus yard returns.

Brown and Sheppard could get plenty of playing time because many teams use three wide receivers in more offensive sets. The hard-hitting Brown is comfortable playing the nickel spot, so Johnson has more options.

"The main thing is we're going with all three of them on the field a lot," Johnson said. "You never know, I might start the game with all three of them on the field. There are a lot of things that we feel comfortable doing with those three guys. It'll work itself out. I'm not real concerned with that right now. It's good competition."

One solution that isn't under consideration would be to move Brown to safety. Brown is an aggressive tackler who made plenty of highlight reels with a vicious hit on Reggie Bush during a playoff game against New Orleans in January 2007. But Brown is more valuable to the Eagles as a cornerback, so they're not planning to switch his position.

"I have no problem playing wherever they need me to play," Brown said. "As long as we're winning games and doing well as a team, I'm cool."

Notes: DE Victor Abiamiri, a second-round pick last year competing for a starting job, had surgery on his right wrist Tuesday and will miss the rest of training camp at least.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.