Omar Gaither has been here before.
The versatile linebacker has started 34 games for the Eagles during his five-year career and, if Stewart Bradley is unable to play on Sunday after incurring a concussion in the season opener, Gaither will be in line to start at middle linebacker - the position he manned for the entirety of the 2007 season.
Gaither played the second half at middle linebacker against the Packers in relief of Bradley and notched four tackles, but he admitted that it took him a series or so to get back up to his successful playing speed. This week, if Gaither gets the start, he'll also have the added advantage of the full week of first-team reps in practice.
"When you go into a week knowing that you are going to, as of right now, expect to play and be a starter, it changes everything," Gaither said. "I think nobody wants to have to (come in off the bench). Like I said, I've done so many things here as far as starting or not starting, playing this position, playing that position, that this situation really isn't anything I haven't been through before.
"Whenever you play, you look forward to playing. Of course I'd rather be out there and be the guy. So yeah, I'm looking forward to the opportunity. Maybe if I play well enough, I'll be able to get on the field somewhere when Stew does come back."
Gaither was the middle linebacker in place of Bradley early last season before he suffered a season-ending foot injury. He said his foot feels in the "high 90's" percentage-wise right now.
"I'm fine to do everything that I would be able to do otherwise," he said. "After the games it's a little sore, stuff like that, but that's to be expected."
One of the team's more vocal players on the field, Gaither has made it known in the past that middle linebacker is his favorite of the three linebacker positions because of the leadership role that comes along with it. So if he gets his chance this Sunday to call the plays defensively and get back on the field, Gaither will certainly try to make the most of it.
"I've done it before and I've done it for a long time before," he said. "That part of it just really comes natural for me, just going back out there, being in the middle and being the starting guy again."
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 5:11 p.m., September 15