September 6 Philadelphia Inquirer
“The way Andy Reid portrayed it, Nick Cole was returning to his rightful place when the Eagles‘ coach named him the starting right guard after trading away Stacy Andrews on Saturday.
Cole spent most of last season at right guard until center Jamaal Jackson suffered a knee injury. Cole moved over to center for the final two games of the season, and as Jackson rehabbed through the off-season and training camp, Cole stayed at center.
Andrews, meanwhile, was penciled in as starting right guard, the position the Eagles felt he would secure for several years when they signed him to a six-year, $38.9 million deal in February 2008. He was the starter from minicamp up until he was dealt Saturday to Seattle for a 2011 seventh-round draft pick.
But when Cole returned after sitting out three weeks with a knee injury, and with Jackson’s rapid return from surgery, the fifth-year pro was splitting repetitions with Andrews by last week.
“Nick Cole had been the starter there and because of the situation with Jamaal, Nick had to go over to the center spot [and] lost his starting spot at right guard because he was starting at center,” Reid said Sunday. “I don’t kick people out of positions because of injuries, so he was going to go back and have an opportunity to step in and work there.”
It seems every year the versatile Cole enters the season as someone’s backup. But somehow he always ends up starting at some point. When the Eagles host the Green Bay Packers in Sunday’s season opener, it will be the former New Mexico State lineman’s 27th career start.
“I always make it hard for whomever,” said Cole, who added that the swelling in his left knee has subsided. “Whatever the decision may be, I try to give it 100 percent.”
Sunday was the Eagles‘ first practice since the preseason finale on Thursday. The roster was trimmed to 53 players on Saturday.
Many familiar faces from the last few months were missing, but two new ones showed up at the NovaCare Complex for the first time. On Friday and Saturday, the Eagles traded away seventh-round draft picks in 2011 for guard Reggie Wells and defensive end Antwan Barnes.
Getting Wells made Andrews expendable. The longtime starter said that Arizona gave him to option to stay and be the backup or accept a trade to Philadelphia, where he would have the chance to compete with Cole. He feels that he can still start in the NFL.”
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