Then, in the afternoon session, driven indoors by rain, backup center Nick Cole practiced for the first time in more than a week. Cole, who had been bothered by unspecified knee swelling, practiced with the first team, in place of McGlynn.
"Right now, Nick's the guy, but we just have to see how things work here," Eagles coach Andy Reid said yesterday, when asked about his starting-center position.
"Everybody wants to start. That's my goal, I want to be the starter," said McGlynn, a fourth-round pick in 2008 out of Pitt who has seen action in just three NFL regular-season games. "If those guys come back, and those guys are in front of me, will I be [ticked] off? Yeah, anybody would be. I want to get out there and start. I feel like it's time for me to get up and get going, and start this career off."
McGlynn said he wants to "make those guys' decision hard. I want to be the starter, that's my goal. Whatever happens at the end of it, that's fine."
McGlynn noted that Jackson won the starting job in a training-camp competition with Hank Fraley in 2006, after Fraley was injured during the 2005 season and Jackson played well in his stead. McGlynn doesn't feel the coaches necessarily have to go back to Jackson, or certainly, to Cole, whose claim on the job is much shakier.
"If we all knew what the coaches were thinking, our minds would be a little more at ease," McGlynn said. "But only they know, and we'll see how it all works out."
Cole was not available for comment.
Jackson, who opted to brace both knees yesterday, worked out with the team for the first time since he went down Dec. 27, against Denver. Cole started the back-to-back blowout losses to Dallas that ended the Eagles' season, and was not impressive.
"My thing is, I'm trying to worry about getting Jamaal Jackson healthy," Jackson said. "I'm here to help the young guys and the guys that are in there as much as I can, but my main goal is to get healthy and help this team. I don't have a concern [about McGlynn or the starting role]. My concern is my knee. If I can get myself out there, healthy enough to compete, let everything happen how it happens. As of right now, I'm here to help McGlynn, Nick, whoever is out there snapping to the quarterback."
Whether he comes back to the starting job is "not up to me," said Jackson, who reiterated that his focus is becoming healthy enough to compete. He said his first few snaps yesterday, his elbow was banging against the knee brace, but he eventually figured out how to prevent that.
"I'm being optimistic" about being ready for the opener, Jackson said, something Reid characterized as a "stretch" back in the spring.
"You hear those things, but that's just Big Red protecting his players," said Jackson, who seems to be in the best shape of his career, above the knees, anyway.
"They've reintroduced me to running," Jackson said.
When Reid was asked yesterday about Jackson and the opener, he said: "It's too soon. I can't tell you that. I've got to see how his leg reacted after this practice, then it's going to be the same thing the next day, and we're just doing to take it day by day and see how he does, and make sure you don't overwork it. There's a fine line there."
Asked about McGlynn's work against Jacksonville, now that the tape has been analyzed, Reid said: "I thought he played very well. He had a couple of snaps where he was covered [by a nose tackle] and there were more when he wasn't, but I thought he played very well in both the run and the pass game. He looked like he had good control of the huddle and the calls up front, and the shotgun snaps were accurate, so I thought all in all, it was a good day. Again, he needs to play more, and he's got plenty of room for improvement, but for his first time out, that was a pretty good day."
With safety Antoine Harris going on injured reserve because of the Lisfranc sprain he suffered Friday, and Quintin Demps out at least a little while with what the team said was a knee bone contusion, the Eagles worked out a pair of free-agent safeties yesterday. Jamaal Fudge is a former Falcon and Jaguar. Terrell Skinner is an undrafted rookie from Maryland recently cut by the Vikings . . . Asked about rookie tight end Clay Harbor's blocking in the Jacksonville game, Andy Reid said: "I thought he did a nice job. His effort's there. He's got to work on some technique things, but he is an aggressive kid and I like that. We just have to refine a little bit of his technique, but Tom [Melvin, tight-ends coach] is working with him on that. The kid will work as hard as you want him to work, he's a tough kid" . . . Cornerback Macho Harris (hamstring) returned to practice, as did receiver Hank Baskett.
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