Eagles Set Sights High as Possible CBA Agreement Nears by Matt Lombardo

Could Albert Haynesworth soon be in Green…Taking It to the House found a league source who thinks it could happen

As the calendar turns to late-June and the first NFL pre-season game slated for August 7th inCanton,Ohio between the Bears and Rams, there is a surging sense of urgency among league owners to come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement with the players.

As such, there is optimism that a deal could be ratified in time to not only preserve the annual pre-season kickoff at Fawcett Stadium, but also the precious billions of dollars in revenue garnered by the league in its four exhibitions each year. As the owners continue to meet inChicago there is hope amongst league circles that a deal could be consummated and ready for a vote by early July.

Negotiations continue to progress the focus inPhiladelphia remains on how active the Eagles will be in free agency and the off-season generally once the NFL reopens for business. Both league and team Sources last week pointed to the likes of Reggie Bush, Plaxico Burress and Albert Haynesworth topping the Birds’ wish list. The word used by most observers to describe the Eagles aspirations: aggressive.

Just how aggressive with the Eagles be?

“I can easily see both being in Eagles uniforms this season,” said a local Eagles’ source.

Both Haynesworth and Burress have differing degrees of baggage. Burress of course is newly released from prison after serving two years for shooting himself in the leg in a New York nightclub in 2008. Meanwhile Haynesworth’s production dipped dramatically a year ago in Washington after being moved from a 4-3 tackle to 3-4 noseguard under headstrong head coach Mike Shanahan. The Eagles though have shown a greater propensity to giving players a chance at redemption in recent years, especially after seeing the life renewal and transformation of Michael Vick under Andy Reid’s guidance the past two years.

“I think Burress and Haynesworth are both strong possibilities,” the source added. “It’s really based on how they both perceive their second chances which the Eagles will evaluate thoroughly before making any decision.”

Obviously there is more work to be done by Burress in his personal life, but the Eagles could very well be the landing spot that gives him a chance at redeeming his career.

“As for Burress, he’s following the Michael Vick recovery process with Tony Dungy leading the charge.” Said the Eagles source.

In the case of Haynesworth, the 29-year old defensive tackle must prove his willingness to adapt back into the 4-3 system and desire to return to a dominant level on the football field.

“Haynesworth’s chances really depends a lot on (defensive line coach) Jim Washburn’s input.” The Eagles source continued.

As the clock ticks down towards the upcoming self imposed deadlines for the lockout to be resolved, one thing is clear; inside the Novacare Complex the aggressive plan being spoken of by football observers is now being acknowledged.


Matt Lombardo is a reporter for 97.3 ESPN in Atlantic City, NJ.  Matt can be reached on Twitter @MattLombardoWC


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