Eagles brass eager to welcome players back

PHILADELPHIA (AP) ? Fresh off a season in which they won 10 games, captured the NFC East title, and found a new franchise quarterback in Michael Vick, the Eagles were more than pleased with Monday’s news that football is back.

“In the end, both sides gave enough to get the deal done, and we can all go back to work feeling good about what was accomplished,” Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said. “A 10-year contract is unprecedented in professional sports. By the time this contract ends, the NFL and its players will have been able to play 33 uninterrupted seasons of football.”

Philadelphia will hold training camp, as planned, at Lehigh University. The players will report on Wednesday. Camp will break at Lehigh on Aug. 17.

“I’m happy that the NFL and its players can get back doing what they love to do,” Eagles coach Andy Reid said. “The coaches can get back to coaching. Players can get back to playing and we’re all pleased about that.”

Philadelphia will play host to Baltimore in the preseason opener on Aug. 11 at Lincoln Financial Field.

“Like our fans, we’ve been waiting for this situation to end since the day it started. Now the challenge is getting back to the games with as little disruption as possible,” Eagles president Joe Banner said. “Even during the lockout, we kept working through the summer knowing we had to be ready for this moment ? to go from zero to 100 mph overnight.

“That includes giving our fans a worthwhile preseason experience. So we kept working at it, even when we weren’t sure we would have time for training camp at all. We owe thanks to many people at Lehigh and on our Eagles staff for making that possible.”

As preparations continue for Lehigh, transactions will now take center stage, as the Eagles begin to ponder what the final roster might look like headed into the season opener at St. Louis on Sept. 11. Included in that, obviously, is the backup quarterback situation behind Vick. Will they trade Kevin Kolb? Will they acquire a veteran quarterback?

“We have to be quick learners, and quick to act,” Banner said. “We’re studying the new contract hard, so we can make good football decisions fast. We want to be on top of the nuances of this new agreement so we can help our ballclub compete.”

The decision to remain at Lehigh was a difficult one, as several other NFL teams, including the New York Jets and Giants, elected to cancel their college-based portions of camp to remain at their home facilities, given the time crunch.

“As far as our team, we look forward to reconvening in the near future and we are looking forward to holding training camp once again on the campus of Lehigh,” Reid said. “We understand that we have a lot of work ahead of us in order to get ready for the season opener at St. Louis.

“And I’m excited to get started on that as soon as we can.”