Camp crowd likes what it sees in Kolb

Running back LeSean McCoy takes a hand-off from Kevin Kolb. Not many fans were wearing Kolb jerseys on Saturday at training camp, though they said they were optimistic after watching the Eagles' new starting quarterback during practice.
Running back LeSean McCoy takes a hand-off from Kevin Kolb. Not many fans were wearing Kolb jerseys on Saturday at training camp, though they said they were optimistic after watching the Eagles' new starting quarterback during practice.
Posted: August 01, 2010

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - If jerseys were a measuring stick of fan support, then Kevin Kolb wasn't getting much of it from the crowd at the Eagles' training camp on Saturday.

As the Eagles kicked off their first full day of practice with pads and helmets, Kolb jerseys were a rarity.

Brent Celek and DeSean Jackson drew more wardrobe support from the fans than the starting quarterback.

"He's not really like a first-round pick. They really didn't have high expectations for him. No one really knows yet whether he's good or bad," said 20-year-old Scott Bahls, a lifelong Eagles fans wearing a Kolb jersey. "If he has a good year, I guarantee you there's not going to be a [No.] 4 jersey available."

Talk with fans attending the Eagles' practices and their optimism, as well as support, is obvious. So why haven't more fans expressed their allegiance through a jersey?

"It's probably because they're very pricey," said Phillip LaRue, 43, smiling and wearing a Kolb jersey.

Some may also see it as a gamble, considering that Kolb just became the starter after Donovan McNabb's trade to Washington. But on Saturday, he gave Eagles fans reason to feel optimistic as he enters his fourth NFL season as the team's offensive leader after three years as a backup.

"He looked very sharp," said Al Foster, a former season-ticket holder from Hampton, N.J. "He's throwing a nice, tight spiral. He's been hitting a couple of nice bombs, hitting his guys. So he's looking good."

Foster, 48, described himself as an Eagles fan since birth. In 1948, his father attended the league championship game and saw the Eagles beat the Chicago Cardinals, 7-0.

The Foster family has relinquished its season tickets, but not its support for the team. Foster said he attends a couple of games every year, and training camp, which offers a glimpse into what's usually missed on TV.

"You get to see actually what the players look like," he said. "You get a feel for the size of them, how quick they are, how fast they are. It's nice. In Philly, you're sitting 50 yards, 100 yards away from the game. Here, sometimes they're 10 feet from you."

Bahls attended Saturday's practice with his family, which has owned a pair of season tickets for 37 years. His decision to wear the Kolb jersey was one part loyalty, one part bargain.

"My buddy could get [the jerseys] for cheap," he said, laughing. "But I like Kolb. I want to support him. He's our new guy. . . . I'm impressed with him. I think he's going to be pretty good this year."

One thing is certain: Kolb as a starter marks the beginning of a new era for the Eagles.

"I'm just excited to have him at quarterback," said LaRue, who has owned season tickets for two years. "Donovan didn't do us justice, but it's time for a new start. I think we're going to be good."


Follow the action at training camp with breaking news, analysis, video, photo slide shows and more: www.philly.com/eagles.

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