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Gaither Going Home In More Ways Than One

It's rare to find linebacker Omar Gaither walking around the NovaCare Complex without some sort of apparel that has Carolina blue in it. Gaither is certainly proud of the fact that he hails from Charlotte, North Carolina. On Sept. 13, when the Eagles open the regular season against the Panthers, it looks like Gaither is going home in more ways than one.

He's also going back to his favorite position, middle linebacker.

"I guess that's what the plan is right now," Gaither said after the Eagles closed out the preseason against the Jets. "Going into the week it seems it's going to be that way. I know they're still making decisions. Obviously, I want to be out there with them."

Gaither was held out of Thursday night's game because head coach Andy Reid already knows what he can do in the middle. Gaither was the starter at middle linebacker in 2007 and recorded 170 tackles for a defense that ranked in the top 10 in points and yards allowed. Gaither was in the mix for the starting weakside linebacker job when this year's training camp began, but Stewart Bradley's season-ending ACL injury on August 2 meant there was going to be a change. Joe Mays had the first chance, but this week in practice Gaither got the first-team reps.

Gaither is not concerned that the inability to work in as the middle linebacker during the preseason will disrupt the cohesion of the defense.

"I don't think we've had a lack of cohesion," Gaither said. "That's what training camp is for. That's what the preseason games are for. You make the mistakes now so you don't make them in the regular season. I don't think there's a lack of cohesion. We have a lot of guys coming back on the defense who have played together."

And to make Gaither feel that much more at ease, all he has to do is look at the Pro Bowl-caliber tackles in front of him in Mike Patterson and Brodrick Bunkley.

"It's just like old times with those two in there," Gaither said. "I'm smiling just thinking about it. That has me really excited right now."

If Gaither does get the call to be the middle linebacker, he wants to make it a memorable time come next Sunday.

"I'm definitely going to put on a show for the hometown crowd," Gaither said.

-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 11:35 p.m., September 3

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