The Eagles signed Jeremiah Trotter to a one-year, league minimum contract today. The prodigal son returns to the team that first drafted him in 1998. A four-time Pro Bowler, Trotter makes his return to the Eagles after last playing for them in 2006. After the Eagles cut him during the 2007 training camp, he spent the season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He did not play in 2008. However, he came into camp at 257 pounds, and is apparently in great shape.
"I always dreamed I would retire as an Eagle," said the 32-year-old Trotter, who declared that he still has at least three years of good football left in his body. "Hopefully, that can still happen."
"Jeremiah Trotter has always been one of my favorite players," said head coach Andy Reid in a press release. "He has worked very hard to keep himself in shape and we are pleased with where he is physically. We are excited to give him an opportunity to contribute to our football team." In order to make room for Trotter, the Eagles cut quarterback Jeff Garcia, whose time in Philadelphia was bound to be limited once Kevin Kolb demonstrated that he was competent as an NFL starting quarterback. Also, Garcia fumbled one of the two snaps that he got in last Sunday's game, costing the Eagles a touchdown by the Chiefs. "Jeff Garcia is a true professional and I know the players and coaches appreciated having him around these last two weeks," continued Reid. "There is no doubt Jeff can still perform at a championship caliber level in the National Football League."
Trotter made a deal with linebacker Tracy White and will wear his old, familiar number 54. Trotter is one of the all-time Eagles greats on defense. He had at least 100 or more tackles and led the team in that category in five of his seven seasons in Philly. He also became the fourth linebacker in team history with at least four Pro Bowl appearances, joining immortals Chuck Bednarik (8), Maxie Baughan (5), and Bill Bergey (4). As of the end of the 2007 season, Trotter has played in 134 games (with 117 starts) in his career, tallying 1201 tackles, 12.5 sacks, 9 interceptions (two returns for touchdowns), and 8 forced fumbles.
His role with the team remains undefined. "I don't think they brought me back to play special teams," Trotter noted. With the Eagles' linebacking corps thinned by injuries, Trotter may well see significant playing time, particularly if he performs at something close to his old level of excellence. At the very least, it will be interesting to see how Reid decides to use Trotter.