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Philadelphia Eagles News

RB Brian Westbrook

On how things are going back out on the practice field: "Things are going well; better than before. There's been a gradual process but it's been pretty good. I haven't had many setbacks, and I'm just excited to be back out there with the team."

On whether he is ahead of schedule: "I don't know. It just depends on who you ask. I think I'm right on time, right where I wanted to be at. With talking to (head) Coach (Andy Reid) and talking to the trainers, I think we're right where we want to be at."

On how challenging it was to go through two surgeries this offseason: "Any time that you have surgery it's going to be tough. It definitely was tough for me to come back and rehab throughout the summer, but it's one of those things, (it's) part of being a football player, you are going to have injuries, you're going to have surgery, and it's all about how you come back and how you play afterwards."

On what is preventing him from being completely back: "I'm just still trying to get my feet underneath me. I still want to continue working on my cuts; I still want to continue working my balance, things like that. It's coming along. It's one of those things where it's a work in progress. I'm excited about being back though."

On how hard it is for him to be patient and take small steps in his rehab process: "It's not too hard. I think (head athletic trainer) Rick (Burkholder) and I have a great line of communication. He kind of gives me an idea of what he wants to do, what he's trying to accomplish with each exercise, and I just basically follow his orders. He's done a great job, him and his training staff, have done a great job of getting me back to where I'm at now."

On whether this past offseason has been more frustrating than others because of his knee and ankle injuries: "I wouldn't say it's frustrating. I know the process. I know that when you have injuries, when you have pains, you have to get it taken care of. It was just one of those things."

On whether he needs preseason reps to get ready for the regular season: "We usually have a pretty good pace at practice, so I wouldn't mind getting in a game a little bit, but I don't think that not having any preseason game would hurt me as far as the regular season."

On whether it's realistic to think that he can get back to having another season like he had in 2007: "That's my plan. My plan is to go out there and get back to a season like that, to help this team get the playoffs, win some playoff games, and get to the Super Bowl. That's our goal, that's my goal as well, so I'm going to do everything I can to get back to that level of play."

On whether he ever thinks about being a running back in his 30s:"I don't really think about it very much. I think that, especially when I was going through my contract situation, I always reminded myself and I always reminded (president) Joe (Banner) and the other people, as well as the media, that it's about productivity, not about your age. If you're a productive back whether you're 30, 31, or 25, productivity is the bottom line. I plan on going out there and being a productive running back this year. We've improved our offensive line, we've improved our offense and that's what we need to do. I think I'll be able to go out there and be very productive this year."

On whether, despite his current rehab, he physically feels like he did five or six years ago: "I think that everybody here knows that you heal a little bit faster when you're younger, no question. I definitely feel good about how my rehab has come. I definitely feel good about how I am right now and the place I am right now, so if I can continue to progress and continue to get better, working towards that Panthers game."

On whether he cares about what people say or about what they write, and whether he uses that as motivation: "I just worry about myself. I can't worry about what other people have said. I've faced a lot of criticism throughout my career in college, high school – 'you're too small, you can't do this, you can't do that.' That's just what people think. They don't know how much work I do, things I do to get ready for the season; they can't understand that part, so they just basically are basing those comments on things that they have seen in the past and not necessarily on me."

On whether the Eagles drafting RB LeSean McCoy is motivation for him: "It doesn't motivate me. I'm glad they brought LeSean in. I think he's going to be a very good player. He has to learn some things. He continues to get better every single day. He continues to learn more every single day. Hopefully he'll go out there and be very productive for us this year as well."

On whether he thinks opponents will overlook him this year because of all the talent they have on offense: "I hope so. I hope they overlook me. I hope I can surprise them. I know that we have a lot of talented players on this team, (QB) Donovan (McNabb), (WR) DeSean (Jackson), (WR) Jason Avant, (WR) Hank Baskett, (WR) Reggie (Brown), (WR) Kevin Curtis, (TE) Brent (Celek). We have guys that defenses have to account for, so hopefully they are busy accounting for those guys and let me do my thing. In the recent past that hasn't happened a lot, but I hope they forget about me a little bit. I know that they are going to contend with so much on the outside as well as a talented tight end and fullback as well."

On his reaction to the signing of QB Michael Vick: "I was surprised; pretty much like everybody else I was surprised that they picked him up, but I'm excited that Mike has a second chance to play football again. I don't necessarily know where he is going to fit in as a player; I don't know where he fits into this offense, but, Coach Reid, that's his job to figure that out. Whenever he's in with me we're going to do our best to make some plays happen."

On whether he is concerned that the starting offensive line hasn't practiced together going into the regular season: "Ideally speaking, you want to try and get some practice reps together: offensive line, quarterback, running back, wide receivers, everybody. But, unfortunately in this situation this year, it doesn't look like we're going to have that opportunity, so we have to go out there and be professionals and make the most out of the situation that we have right now. I know (T) Jason (Peters) will be back, I know that (G/T) Todd (Herremans) will be back, and hopefully (T/G) Shawn (Andrews) will be back. (G/T) Stacy (Andrews) will be back, as well as myself, so hopefully we are going to get some opportunity to work together, whether it's the week before the regular season game or it's the regular season game."

On how the offensive scheme is going to change: "To be honest with you, I have no idea what Coach Reid is going to do in terms of tweaking the offense or changing it. I have no clue. I don't even ask about it. When they call the play, when they give me an opportunity to touch the ball, that's the only thing I worry about."

On how hard it is for a running back to adjust to a new offensive line: "It takes some time to get used to it. It takes some time to see how Jason is going to cut off the three tackle on the backside and how Stacy is going to work. But, being professionals, being a part of this game for a long time, you've dealt with a lot of different players. And unfortunately here, injuries have happened, so we've had guys like (G) Max Jean-Gilles and (C) Nick Cole step in and play and you really only have a week to get used to those guys as well. It's just part of being a professional and knowing what you have to do and reading what they're doing."

On how the team dynamic has changed with the losses and acquisitions of players: "I think the dynamic is similar. We have a lot of good young guys in here now. It's definitely weird to be one of the older guys. I look around in the offensive meetings, when I first got here it was just me, Donovan and (QB) A.J. (Feeley), that's it. It's a different dynamic but we still have a lot of quality guys, a lot of young guys who want to learn, a lot of young guys that can play football, so I'm excited about that and I'm excited about what this team is going to do. We got rid of some guys that I was very good friends with and that's always disappointing, but hopefully it was to upgrade the team we have."

On his impressions of RB Eldra Buckley: "I think Buckley has done a great job. I think he's done a lot of stuff that Coach has asked him to do. He's very physical. He runs hard. He's pretty good in pass protection as well. I think the biggest thing is that he's made some plays on special teams, which allows the coach to take a better look at him. It's important that he continues to have great ball control, continues to do the things that the coaches are asking him to do. There's no necessarily prototypical back for this offense, a lot of backs can fit into this offense but he's just going to have to learn how to catch the ball. It's very important for him to protect (Donovan McNabb) and playing some special teams."

On having had a long career and now being one of the veterans in the locker room: "You hope for it as younger player. You hope that you can play eight years at running back and do the things that I've been able to accomplish at running back, and hopefully do some more things in the future but you never know. I think the average for running backs is three and a half years, so you never know what the future is really going to hold. You just go out there and work every single day and prepare yourself and get ready for the next day."

On whether he had to do any soul searching when he heard the Eagles had signed Vick: "I really didn't. I didn't judge Mike. I knew Mike before the whole situation went down; we've talked a few times at the Pro Bowl and things like that. I really didn't have to do any soul searching. The man, he said in the media, he never told me personally, he said he was sorry and really for me that was enough. I can't judge whether he really means it or not, all I can judge is basically take him for what his word is. He said he's sorry, he expressed remorse, he's done his time and for me that was enough."

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