Sheldon Brown arrived at camp this afternoon and spoke to reporters for several minutes about his relationship with coach Jim Johnson and about his unwavering commitment to playing football for the Eagles.
"He knew how to turn it off and turn it on. He knew how to say bad things to you in a good way," Brown said when asked what made Johnson such a special coach. "That's just one of those things that he was blessed with and a lot of people were blessed to play for him.
"I can remember my first year here (in 2002), he took the time out to talk to my parents, and not many guys would have done that. Like I said, I'm very blessed to have played for him."
As for what kind of motivating factor Johnson's death will be for Brown and the rest of the Eagles defense, Brown said that winning really is it's own motivation.
"When we're on the football field obviously Jim will be on our mind, but the motivation for us it to always go out and play well," Brown said.
The topic then turned to the question of Brown's absence from the Organized Team Activities and his perceived unhappiness with his current contract. When asked if he had ever considered not showing up for training camp, he responded with a blunt and simple, "No."
"I'm going to do what I've done the last seven years, and that's what I do," Brown said. "I show up and play football."
In fact, Brown has been in contact with head coach Andy Reid, sending coach Reid a joking text message about getting certain mornings off now that he's reached the 30-and-over club.
But for Brown, the main focus was on the lessons he had learned from coach Johnson, in both life and death.
"For me, it's a rude awakening that one guy could be so healthy and in five months, he's gone," Brown said. "Live life to its fullest, enjoy every moment."
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 7:57 p.m., July 29