Philadelphia Eagles News

Gaither Also Returns To Familiar Role

This linebacker ended the 2009 season on the Injured Reserve list made his return last week against the Packers and will start this Sunday at middle linebacker.

Sure, it sounds like Stewart Bradley, but it's actually Omar Gaither who will man the middle against the Lions. Bradley was ruled out on Friday by head coach Andy Reid because of the concussion he suffered in the loss to the Packers.

"I'm excited, back being a starter for however long it may be," Gaither said on Friday. "I'm just excited and ready to take advantage of this opportunity."

Gaither had four tackles in relief of Bradley. In addition to playing the MIKE in the base 4-3 defense, Gaither will be on the field in the nickel situation as well. This is certainly not Gaither's first run as a starter. He's started 34 career games including all 16 at middle linebacker in 2007. Gaither began the 2009 campaign as the starter at middle linebacker, but was lost for the season due to a Lis Franc sprain in the loss at Oakland.

An emotional player who leads the pre-game huddle, Gaither will be trying to keep himself in check before Sunday's kickoff.

"I'm just going to be regular, try to be as normal as possible," Gaither said. "My emotions are already hard to control on gameday. This being my first start in a while it's going to be real exciting for me, but I'm looking forward to it."

Schematically, Gaither said the Lions do a lot of the same things that last week's opponent does. The Lions only garnered 20 rushing yards, but rookie sensation Jahvid Best scored two touchdowns. The Eagles allowed 132 yards on the ground to the Packers and Gaither knows they must be better in order to escape Detroit with a win.

"I think we learned a lot about ourselves from that game," Gaither said. "No excuses, but we do have a lot of young guys in their first game playing ever. I think this week will be a drastic improvement."

-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 3:25 p.m., September 17

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