Linebacker Simoni Lawrence, the newest Eagle, could not be happier to be a member of his hometown team.
Despite admitting that he is, in his own words, a former "cockroach" - for those uninitiated, that's code for a fan of a certain NFC East team from Texas - Lawrence could barely contain his excitement after practice when talking to reporters about the chance he's been given with the Eagles.
"To stay in Philadelphia, this is a dream come true. I'm so happy to be out here," he said. "I wanted to come home. I wanted to stay home. I love my mom, I love my family and I'm happy to just stay home with everybody."
Lawrence added that his mom "might be the biggest Eagles fan in the world," a title that could only be bolstered by the presence of her son on the roster.
As for his prospects on the field, Lawrence said he'll be competing at both outside linebacker positions, though he played mostly the strong side in college at Minnesota. The 6-foot, 232 pound Lawrence will no doubt have an uphill battle the make the team with the amount of depth at linebacker, but at the very least he's got the enthusiasm necessary to get in the playbook and learn as much as he can as quickly as possible.
Lawrence was also drafted 22nd overall in the recent United Football League draft by the Hartford Colonials and while he considered making that move, once he got the offer from the Eagles Lawrence knew where he had to go.
"I did (give playing in the UFL some thought) because I just love football," he said. "I just wanted to make sure I was playing football. Whether I get paid or don't get paid, I just want to play football because this is what I love to do."
Elsewhere on the practice field Tuesday ...
- Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin missed practice with what was deemed a "tight hamstring." In his absence, veteran wide receiver Hank Baskett put on a show with a number of impressive catches. He hauled in a diving touchdown catch over the middle of the field on a pass from Michael Vick during 7-on-7 drills and later made a sliding catch right near the sidelines, this time on a throw from Kevin Kolb.
- After playing the role of the Washington Redskins yesterday, the scout teams today portrayed the New York Giants. Two players donned special jerseys, with Devin Ross wearing Kenny Phillips' 21 and Omar Gaither hitting the field as middle linebacker Jonathan Goff.
- Chad Hall continued to impress, this time with a leaping, falling touchdown in the corner of the end zone on a pass from Michael Vick.
- Keenan Clayton showed good instincts and good hands when defending the mock Giants offense. On a quick pass from Joey Elliott, Clayton cut across the middle and snagged the ball in mid-air without a bobble and headed up the field - much to the delight of the defensive players on the sideline.
- With Asante Samuel out this week and Ellis Hobbs still not practicing in team drills, the nickel defense was once again Dimitri Patterson at left cornerback, Macho Harris at right cornerback and Joselio Hanson as the nickel man. Daniel Te'o-Nesheim and Darryl Tapp continue to get reps with the first-team nickel as inside pass rushers.
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 2:09 p.m., June 8