Samuel in or out with Eagles?

smiles during workout yesterday.ED HILLE / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
smiles during workout yesterday.ED HILLE / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER (Eagles' Asante Samuel)
Posted: August 02, 2011

BETHLEHEM-Like the rest of us, Asante Samuel is waiting for the other cleat to drop.

The cornerback with 36 interceptions since 2006, the most in the NFL, reported to Eagles training camp yesterday, went through an afternoon walkthrough with his teammates, and met with reporters.

The upshot seemed to be that like nearly everybody else, Samuel is a bit wary of the fact that the Eagles now have three Pro Bowl-quality corners. He suspects his future might be elsewhere. But even though Samuel "no-commented" a question about whether he requested a trade during a meeting with team management, general manager Howie Roseman later said Samuel did not.

Samuel indicated support for the idea that he, Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie could all play together, though he did not eagerly embrace it as the greatest idea ever.

"If they're tired of my big-playmaking ability, maybe they'll ship me off," Samuel said several times in answer to questions about how he sees the future unfolding. "Maybe they want to keep me. Who knows?"

Asked whether he wants to remain an Eagle, Samuel said: "I want to be where I'm wanted. If I'm wanted here, [fine]. If I'm not appreciated here, life goes on. I move on."

Does he feel wanted here?

"It's probably 50-50, you know?" Samuel said. "So we'll see how it goes."

It might be a mistake to read too much into Samuel's words; he has never been an "everything is just ginger-peachy" kind of quote.

He might warm to the situation if it becomes clear he isn't being traded.

"He's a hell of a player and definitely can do a lot for the team," Samuel said of Asomugha.

Samuel confirmed what the Eagles had been saying, that his excused absence from training camp before yesterday was for personal, family reasons, and had nothing to do with his contract or the team.

Eagles president Joe Banner appeared on WIP Radio and on the PFT Live podcast yesterday. In both appearances, Banner said the Eagles are keeping their options open with Samuel. It sure sounds like they'd be inclined to make a deal if someone else wanted to part with a key cog right now. But this really isn't the time of year when teams normally trade key cogs.

On PFT Live, Banner said the situation might be like 2 years ago, when the Eagles felt they were best off with Donovan McNabb, Kevin Kolb and Michael Vick at the quarterback position, rather than trying to move one. Of course, that situation has a 1-year shelf life.

Banner said the Eagles have "definitely started getting inquiries from people . . . We have teams that are formulating offers."

Defensive coordinator Juan Castillo again talked up the idea of needing three elite corners in the pass-happy NFL of 2011. As in yesterday's Daily News, he referenced moving Asomugha around in a "Rod Woodson-type role." Except from the context this time, which included a reference to the Packers, it would seem Castillo is talking about Charles Woodson, not Rod.

"Here's the thing, you know that the nickel defensive back is really a starter in the NFL," Castillo said. "The way people play, there are some teams that don't even play regular personnel. There are some people like the Colts that play the two tight ends, two wideouts, and one back, and that extra tight end is a receiver. You're playing that nickel the whole game. You know what, no, we have three starters. You need three starters. That's a great deal, we're excited."

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