Eagles sign Trotter, drop Garcia

September 29, 2009 2:35:06 PM PDT
Jeremiah Trotter is back with the Philadelphia Eagles after a year away from the NFL. The four-time Pro Bowl linebacker signed with the team Tuesday. To make room for him, the Eagles released quarterback Jeff Garcia.

"Jeremiah Trotter has always been one of my favorite players," coach Andy Reid said. "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."

A 10-year veteran, Trotter, 32, last played with Tampa Bay in December 2007. He has credited knee surgery last year with making him feel he could return to the field.

Exactly what role Trotter will play is unclear. Starting middle linebacker Stewart Bradley is on injured reserve after tearing a knee ligament in training camp. Omar Gaither has started the first three games this season in his place.

The 6-foot-1, 262-pound Trotter likely will serve as a run-stuffing specialist for the Eagles, who are ranked 15th in the league against the run, giving up 106 yards per game through the first three weeks of the season.

A third-round pick by the Eagles in 1998, Trotter went to Pro Bowls in 2000 and 2001. He left as a free agent for Washington for two years and returned in 2004, eventually winning the starting job and making two more Pro Bowls.

Donovan McNabb's recovery from a broken rib in the season opener, the strong play of backup Kevin Kolb and Michael Vick's return from suspension made Garcia expendable. The Eagles signed Garcia to back up Kolb after McNabb was hurt on a touchdown run against Carolina.

Kolb is 1-1 as a starter, losing to the New Orleans Saints before leading the Eagles to an easy victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Eagles (2-1) have a bye Sunday and host Tampa on Oct. 11.

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