Stacy Andrews is a huge guy, absolutely gigantic. He dwarfs his younger brother, Shawn, and as Stacy exited the NovaCare Complex on Friday night after an exhausting and exhilarating day of flying to Philadelphia, undergoing a series of tests and then visiting with the coaching staff, Andrews was still smiling.
"Great to be here," he said.
Now, the deal is not done. The Eagles went out on Day One of free agency and took the necessary step to bring in an impact player. Should all work out, as expected, Andrews will sign a contract on Saturday and then meet the media to discuss his role as the team's starting right offensive tackle. He is a key piece of this team's offensive puzzle, one of several pieces the Eagles are expected to make in the coming weeks.
Andrews is a developing player, which makes offensive line coach Juan Castillo extremely happy. Castillo wants athletes who have great feet and who have a willingness to work, and Andrews come in with plus marks on all three fronts. If it all comes together, it will be fun to see Castillo bring out the best in Andrews.
Certainly, there is more value to having Andrews here. His younger brother, Shawn, is one of the best linemen in the league when he is whole, both mentally and physically. Already, Stacy has spoken enthusiastically about working side by side with Shawn, a Pro Bowl talent at right guard.
"It is something," said Stacy Andrews, "that we have talked about for a while now."
Andrews was the out-of-the-box high on a roller-coaster of a day. That's what free agency is, so brace yourselves for more days like this. As the Eagles were waiting for Andrews to arrive and then making him feel comfortable around the NovaCare Complex, they learned that running back Correll Buckhalter was ready to sign in Denver, that tight end L.J. Smith was a visitor in Atlanta, that Sean Considine was a done deal in Jacksonville and, of course, that safety Brian Dawkins was providing high drama to a day full of it.
Dawkins, the seven-time Pro Bowl player who is as beloved as any Eagles player in history, visited Denver on Friday. At one point, a report surfaced on the Internet that he had agreed to terms with the Broncos. The report was later replaced by a series of reports debunking the initial report.
Certainly, Dawkins is an emotional touch point for Eagles fans. Emotion is tough to come by in the hard, cold business of the NFL. All we know, on this Friday night as I write, is that Dawkins hasn't signed in Denver. However, yeah, he's in Denver. The Broncos are interested. There is a real chance that Dawkins could sign with the Broncos. That is the reality of life in the league, in free agency.
There was no word as of Friday night on any league-wide interest in left tackle Tra Thomas, so that situation remains in a holding pattern. Same with Jon Runyan, the warrior who is recovering from his knee surgery. Should Andrews sign, naturally, it would seem to signal the end of Runyan's time as an Eagle.
This is the business. Teams in the league and fans around the country are reminded of that once again as players up and move and look for favorable situations. And it hurts to even think that Dawkins could play elsewhere in 2009, but the picture is very clear here: He is either playing as an Eagle or as a Denver Bronco.
Want more rumors? There are a bunch of them, including a report that says cornerback Lito Sheppard will visit the Jets on Saturday, setting the stage for a possible trade. And that if the Eagles don't retain Dawkins, they will go after safety James Sanders, formerly of the Patriots.
This is good stuff. This is fascinating information/non-information. And, truthfully, there are probably about a dozen other things that may or may not happen regarding your Eagles in the next few days.
First things first, though. The Eagles have to secure Andrews on Saturday. They have to keep their lines of communication regarding every other scenario, and they have to anticipate other things they want to happen between now and August 1.
This thing is far from done. It has barely started, and we're just a day in the frenzy of free agency.