Philadelphia Eagles News

Head Coach Andy Reid, General Manager Howie Roseman and LB DeMeco Ryans

Andy Reid opening statement: "We are excited today to have DeMeco Ryans with us. We have made a trade with the Texans, which I think you all realize. Both Howie (Roseman) and (Texans general manager) Rick Smith did a phenomenal job with the trade, which I think was good for both teams.

"We were able to bring DeMeco into a good situation with his playing style and obviously he will be a great asset to the Philadelphia Eagles defense. He'll be playing middle linebacker for us. He's coming from a 3-4 defense that had been a 4-3 in years past, and we consider him one of the top 4-3 middle linebackers in the National Football League.

"He's got a nice track record to show that. We're excited to have him join our young linebacking corps and bring some senior leadership in there and experience. You're going to be meeting a class act right here, a team captain of the Texans who actually had the nickname 'Cap', that was what the Texans called him. He is very worth of that."

DeMeco Ryans opening statement: "I'd like to thank (Chairman/CEO) Mr. (Jeffrey) Lurie, coach Reid, and Howie for making the trade to make me a Philadelphia Eagle. I'm excited about it and I'm happy to be here. I feel the passion here from the fans and the love in here from the city. I'm just excited to get started. We have a great team here with great teammates and I'm looking to come in here, do my part, and be myself. I'm going to take this city to where we want to go."

On Ryans' reaction to when he learned about the trade: "It was a little surprising when I first heard of the move, but at the same it was good because I knew I was coming to a good team. I was excited about that because I know how good this team was in previous years and last year. I've gone down the road there and I knew I was coming to a good team. It was a perfect fit for me."

On whether he is happy to be back in a 4-3 defense: "Yeah, I'm happy being back in a 4-3 defense. That's the defense I've been playing since high school. I have been in the middle of that defense for a while in high school and in college. It's back to what I do naturally. I'm a natural middle linebacker, and this is what suits my ability."

On the potential of playing alongside the Eagles defensive line: "I think it's going to be special. The defensive line here led the league in sacks last year. You have two great pass rushers coming off of the edge and in the middle that are great players. The defense always starts with great guys up front, and that's the core. Getting good linebackers behind them, I think they will be a very solid defense."

On how the fans have waited for a linebacker of his caliber to be on the Eagles: "I can sense that everyone has been looking for that middle linebacker, and I'm happy to be the guy that they chose to step in and be the middle linebacker of this defense. Like I said, it's a perfect fit for me, and it's what I like to do. I'm just eager to get started."

On the pressure from fans and the media in Philadelphia: "I'm just looking to step in and do my job. How the fans view it or not, I'm going to be myself and do what I do on the field. I'm not going to be someone that I'm not and I'm just going to continue to be myself. The fans in Houston are good fans and they have a great fan base in Houston. I know the fan base here is an awesome fan base also. I'm looking forward to it and I'm looking to do my part."

On whether his Achilles injury affected the way he played last year: "I was slow – it slowed me down a little bit at the beginning of the season. As the season went on, it continued to get better. Towards the end of the season, I was moving around feeling like myself again."

On whether he has made a full recovery: "Yes, I'm 100 percent."

On whether Reid sees leadership ability from Ryans like he did in former Eagles S Brian Dawkins: Reid: "It's funny you say that because Rick Smith, the Texans general manager, actually said that. That's the type of person that you're getting. Obviously, they are two different type of individuals but with some of the leadership and character that you're getting on and off the field I think are the same."

On being a leader on a new team: Ryans: "Of course it'll be different coming to a new locker room, but I never pressed guys. I'm not going to step in and say, 'Hey look at me, I'm the guy.' I'm just going to be myself. When I am, I'm a natural leader. I'm not going to change anything about myself or my approach to how I go about my business, it's going to be the same."

On whether the Eagles are now acknowledging inexperience at the linebacker position: Reid: "I mentioned to you all the way through that we were young. I'm excited about the young guys coming back and having another year under our belt. I thought we had massive improvement there from the beginning until the end, and I look forward to that. We go through and try to better ourselves.

"I thought that bringing in someone with experience was important right now for this football team. Really, to have a quarterback on that side of the ball is good for (defensive coordinator) Juan (Castillo), the players around DeMeco – he's made the players around him better, and that's what you say when you hear the comments from his teammates. That veteran leadership, I'm excited to have that, yes."

On how hard it was to be patient and let the process play out: Roseman: "We have conversations with every team in the league during this time period. We were pretty persistent with Rick Smith and the Texans, and engaging in conversations with DeMeco. We thought he would be a perfect fit for us and a great opportunity for us to acquire the type of player that we were looking for. While that was going, the free agent market was going on at the same time, but our focus was getting him to Philadelphia and making him an Eagle. We feel fortunate that it came to fruition."

On whether Roseman thought things might have been headed in a different direction at linebacker: "I think with the way that the free agent market has gone, we knew that we had to bring this to a head fairly quickly. They were involved in that process. Give a lot of credit to the Texans and Rick Smith for the way they engaged in those discussions and making sure we went about quickly and found some preferable terms."

On whether Ryans knew that there was a possibility that he might get traded: Ryans: "No, I had no idea. I was still preparing to be in Houston. I had no idea that it was coming. I'm excited that I'm coming to a great team."

On his next steps moving forward: "Just hit the playbook hard, studying, and meeting with coach Juan (Castillo) and learning the scheme and the type of calls that he makes. I'll try to learn as much as Juan knows. I want to know as much as he knows about the defense."

On his thoughts on the wide-9 alignment that the Eagles use: "I've heard of it and I understand the wide-9 scheme. I've played behind it before."

On whether he has talked to college teammate Evan Mathis yet: "Things have been moving so fast I haven't had a chance to speak with Evan yet, but I'm sure I'll get in contact with him once I leave here."

On his impression of Philadelphia and the Eagles before he came here: "It was a great team and they had a lot of playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. They got after the quarterback on defense and they have great corners. They have all the pieces in place and a great team."

On what Roseman saw on film regarding Ryans' Achilles injury: Roseman: "You're talking about a really physical, instinctive linebacker. He's in control of that defense. As the season went on, you saw what he's talking about. He was getting it all back and we thought he played his best football in the playoffs. We always watch the middle linebacker in the biggest games toward the end of the season. We had the opportunity to watch him in a 4-3 defense a few years back and see him play against the NFC East. We felt very confident and comfortable making this trade."

On what new CBA restrictions affect how Ryans can work with his new coaches: Reid: "He can be given a playbook. Until really April 16th, he can't meet with the coaches. He can't do that. He'll do all that when the time comes."

On whether Reid thinks Ryans is a three-down linebacker: "Yes."

On the quest to find consistency at middle linebacker: "We have used a few, and we've done a pretty good job with the ones we've had here. I don't want to slight those guys. Again, we're excited to have DeMeco here. He's an established middle linebacker and a Pro Bowl player at that position in this league. To say I'm not happy and excited that Howie and Rick were able to work this out, I'd be wrong to say that."

On Ryans' experience last year winning the division and going to the playoffs in Houston: Ryans: "It was great. Houston was a place where we were building toward a playoff run. It took us a while to get there, but once we had the core guys in place and we did what winning teams do. We practiced the way winning teams practice, and we went out about our ways the way winning teams do. You saw that come to light with us making the playoffs and us making a run on it."

On whether he has offered any explanations to his old teammates as to why he was traded: "As an explanation, I think it was pretty much salary cap issues and they had to make a move."

On Reid's take on the suspensions handed down by the NFL to New Orleans and Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams: Reid: "I really don't have a comment. First of all, I've been spending all my time with this guy here so I haven't really looked. As I was walking down here, I saw it and heard about it. I really don't have a comment on that."

On whether Ryans believed he would be traded because of the Texans salary cap issues: Ryans: "No, I wasn't thinking about playing anywhere else. I was thinking about being in Houston and it caught me by surprise, but it's a great surprise."

On how he would approach being a leader in a new locker room: "I've always believed in leadership as being by example. That's been my take on it. You step out and you do things the right way. The guys in the locker room know who they want to follow, and I just go about my business by doing things the right way. Guys have just gravitated towards me. There's nothing different that I have to do. I'm just going to be myself."

On who Reid thinks his outside linebackers are: Reid: "We used a variety of guys out there. Juan and I will go about and figure out how we're going to do that. We had so many guys play so many positions last year that we'll have some options there."

On LB Jamar Chaney's role: "I've got to sit down and go through all that. I have to see how this fits in and then go with it. We've got time to work on all that."

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