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Hobbs Has New Lease On Career, Life

Though not all the way back from a scary neck injury that sidelined him for half of last season, Ellis Hobbs says he won't be shy when it comes time for contact.

"I'll dive in head-first, literally," Hobbs said in an exclusive interview with "My mentality is just full-go, full blast. When that time comes, man, I'm going to open it up. If I'm going to get hurt again, I'm going to get hurt again."

Hobbs, who averaged 24.1 yards on kick returns last year, is back to work after suffering a season-ending neck injury on a 96-yarder that was negated by penalty in a game against the Cowboys in November.

"I couldn't feel anything for what seemed like an eternity ... maybe 5 seconds or so," Hobbs recalled. "I got up and walked off on my own power. But the doctor was right there and he saw everything and he said every symptom that you're supposed to have from an injury like that, I had it at the time."

Hobbs underwent surgery in December and during the procedure a herniated disc was removed from his neck and replaced with a minimal amount of bone. A restricted free agent, Hobbs entered the off-season hoping to get another shot in Philadelphia. The Eagles responded by placing a first-round tender on the veteran which he later signed.

"I just feel blessed to have a job," Hobbs said. "I never really took my job for granted or anything, but you just never know. It was just one of those things where it caught me off guard. You're scared, but you're happy to know it wasn't permanent."

Hobbs was limited to individual drills during the post-draft mini-camp. But when he gets the necessary clearance, he is ready to assume his role as the team's starting right cornerback and even go back to returning kickoffs.

"Whatever it is, I'm ready to go. I just want to do it all. ," Hobbs said. "I'm young. I'm 26. I'm vibrant. I feel fresh after the break I had."

Hobbs was acquired by the Eagles last year in a draft weekend trade that netted the Patriots a pair of fifth-round picks. A starter in New England, he had to adjust to a new role in Philadelphia where he was a reserve outside cornerback and the primary kickoff return specialist.

It was an "awkward" year, Hobbs admitted.

But with Sheldon Brown dealt to Cleveland this off-season, Hobbs is in position for double duty -- both in the secondary and on special teams.

"I'm just looking to start fresh," he said.

-- Posted by Bob Kent, 1:10 p.m., May 2

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