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McNabb optimistic as camp opens notes

Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb addresses the media following the first day of the Eagles’ training camp at Lehigh University in Bethlehem on Monday.


BETHLEHEM — One day into his 11th NFL training camp, Donovan McNabb is sounding like a coach.

After Philadelphia reached its fifth NFC championship game in eight years last season, the Eagles added several players to boost an offense that seems to perpetually rely on McNabb and running back Brian Westbrook.

The Eagles drafted receiver Jeremy Maclin, running back LeSean McCoy and tight end Cornelius Ingram. Maclin scored 33 touchdowns in a two-year career at Missouri, McCoy rushed for almost 1,500 yards last season at Pitt, while Ingram was Florida’s top tight end before missing last season with a knee injury.

All three are talented, explosive — and young. McNabb knows.

“We’ve got a lot of 20- and 21-year-old kids on this team,” McNabb said as the Eagles hit the practice field Monday at Lehigh University. “I’m 32 years old. I’ve seen a lot of what they’ve done in college, but again, it goes back to, ‘Can you do the same things in college on the pro level?’ And some have, some haven’t.”

“We have a lot of young faces. We have a lot of new faces. For me to sit here and say, ‘Hey, we’re a Super Bowl team and we’re going to win the Super Bowl,’ I don’t believe in all that. I think that’s something that at the end of the year, we’ll find out who wins and who doesn’t.”

Coach Andy Reid couldn’t have said it better himself.

The Eagles didn’t go with a total youth movement, opting for experience to protect McNabb. They acquired two veteran offensive linemen, trading with Buffalo for two-time Pro Bowler Jason Peters and signing free agent Stacy Andrews away from the Bengals.

Philadelphia fell to Arizona in last year’s NFC title game, 32-25, but the Eagles expect to again contend in the formidable NFC East.

“I think we have a great team. We have some great athletes here, but we have to put the pieces of the puzzle together. And if we can do that, hopefully we can ride on and take it and be able to finish this thing off in Miami,” McNabb said.


SAN DIEGO — Shawne Merriman was back at work at Chargers Park on Monday with an eye on the future.

The imposing linebacker, who missed all but one game last season because of an injury to his left knee, wants to be able to make a contribution this year.

“I just want to help the team get back what we lacked last year — nastiness and intensity and being physical,” Merriman said. “I think that’s where you notice it, being away from the game. Some of the things that I was really good at doing, that is motivating everybody else, getting everybody else to take their game to another level.”

Merriman reported to training camp Monday along with the quarterbacks, rookies and other players coming off injuries. The balance of the squad checks in Thursday, with a full-team workout on Friday.

The medical staff kept Merriman from team drills.

“I think that will come later on, don’t know the timeline for that,” Merriman said. “But hopefully I’m not out much longer.”


CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Carolina Panthers have reached terms with second-round pick Everette Brown and third-round choice Corvey Irvin.

The deals left the Panthers on Monday with only one unsigned rookie: second-rounder Sherrod Martin. The team reports to training camp Sunday.

Carolina created roster space by waiving defensive tackle Justin Kershaw and safety Anthony Scirrotto.

Brown agreed to a four-year, $4.3 million deal that includes nearly $2.7 million in guaranteed money. The ex-Florida State defensive end is expected to provide an immediate boost to Carolina’s pass rush.

Irvin signed a four-year, $2.42 million deal that includes a $670,000 signing bonus. The Georgia product is expected to back up starting defensive tackles Maake Kemoeatu and Damione Lewis.


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Recalcitrant receiver Brandon Marshall was an unhappy camper Monday when he reported for the first day of the Denver Broncos’ training camp.

Marshall, who missed all offseason workouts while rehabbing from hip surgery and protesting his contract and his medical treatment from the team, participated in the short afternoon workout. But he made it clear afterward that he remains displeased with his situation.

He said the reason he showed up was to avoid the $15,888 daily fines he could have been assessed otherwise.


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Safety Patrick Chung is the latest second-round pick to sign with the New England Patriots.

Chung signed on Monday, the last of the team’s four second-rounders to agree to terms. Details were not disclosed, although the other three Patriots draftees in that round signed four-year contracts.

The former Oregon safety started the most games in his school’s history. He was the Patriots first selection in this year’s draft after they traded out of the first round.

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