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Bright Catches On And Off The Field

Rookie tight end Eugene Bright, who is trying to make the transition from defensive end in college, has taken a page from a Hollywood script to improve his game over the last few days.

After going through a practice in which he had a couple of dropped passes, Bright remembered the movie "The Program" and decided he would try to improve his game on the field while being off the field.

"I figured I needed to do something besides try to catch before and after practice," said Bright. "So I went to the equipment guys and got a football.

"Everywhere I go I'm tossing it to myself, guys are tossing it to me. You do that and you probably catch 250 extra passes a day and it's actually helped me out a lot."

Bright said he's been getting the comparison from teammates to Omar Epps in "The Program" who plays a running back that carries around a football everywhere to better protect the ball.

For me, "It's for catching, not for fumbling," Bright said. But that hasn't stopped teammates from trying to knock the ball out of his hands, including quarterback Donovan McNabb.

"I was like, come on man, now I have to chase this ball down the hallway," he said.

Bright has been thrust into a more prominent role on the Eagles than expected thanks to a series of unforeseen circumstances.

"We were expecting him to be the fourth tight end and have an opportunity to learn the position," said head coach Andy Reid. "And now he's working with the two's and, in double tight end sets, with the ones."

"It's great for his learning process," Reid said.

Injuries to Cornelius Ingram and Matt Schobel meant that Bright and Brent Celek were the only two tight ends getting reps for several days in practice which was wearing both of them down.

"18 or 19 practices will catch up to you," Bright said. "You just have to push through that wall really. It's fatigue, only having two tight ends."

"I was joking around with Brent. I told him I was so tired that when I was signing autographs I signed the wrong number."

Indeed, there's a young Eagles fan somewhere with a Eugene Bright #84 signature. 84 is Hank Baskett's number - Bright is 82.

But other than that, Bright believes the transition is going well for him. Although it was hard learning to think like an offensive player.

"A lot of times you have to avoid contact" on offense, Bright said, "And on defense you don't avoid any contact.

"But working with the coaches the last couple months with the coaches, I'm in the offensive frame of mind now for sure."

And Bright has shown improvement over the past several days, thanks in part to the constant ball-tossing off the field.

"The guys are saying to me keep carrying that ball because you haven't dropped anything," he said. "There was one pass I caught today that was real low, and I probably wouldn't have caught that if I hadn't been carrying the ball around."

-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 12:28 p.m., August 9

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