Smith Saga Continues for Now
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - There wasn't a lot Marcus Smith could say Tuesday and the fourth-year defensive end obliged, brushing off his absence during the voluntary portion of the Eagles' offseason activities.
Everyone understands what's going on, however.
The Eagles declined their team option on the former first-round pick, drafted defensive end Derek Barnett in the first round and signed another player at the position in free agency, Chris Long. Smith, meanwhile, saw the writing on the all and tried to force a trade or a release by staying away.
The mandatory portion of the offseason kicked off Tuesday, however, and with Smith still on the 90-man roster, he was there as required.
“I’m here now,” he said. “It was voluntary. Minicamp was mandatory and I need to be here for that.”
Smith also claimed he still wanted to be in Philadelphia despite the optics saying otherwise.
"I still want to make this team,” Smith said. “I still want to be a part of the Philadelphia Eagles.”
In theory, as a bubble player, the 10 (which turned out to be nine and a paintball trip) voluntary practice sessions could have opened some eyes with the coaching staff and made that a more realistic goal.
“My decision and my agent’s decision was just to decide not to come,” Smith explained. “Wasn’t a reason. It was voluntary. I just stayed at home and trained. ...I don’t feel like I missed anything. I knew the playbook well. I think when I went home (to Baltimore), I was just working on my pass rush, working on stuff that I would be working on up here.”
Smith has a nearly $600,000 roster bonus due by the third day of training camp and the Eagles would save $1.48 million if they release the Louisville product, so don't expect this saga to continue deep into the summer.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen