PHILADELPHIA - Chris Gocong is hoping to resurrect his NFL career in the same place where he started it.
The linebacker is among 42 players participating in the Eagles' minicamp this weekend at the NovaCare Complex. He is here on a tryout basis. If all goes well, he'll be invited to stick around for next week's organized team activities.
Most of them are rookies and a few holdovers from last season's practice squad. Gocong, who was the Eagles' third-round draft pick in 2006, is among a group trying out for coach Chip Kelly and his assistants.
"It's a little tough to have to go through this," Gocong said.
"But it's a situation where I'm coming off a serious injury and teams want to see if I'm healthy before they make a commitment. We'll see how it goes."
Gocong played four seasons for the Eagles (2006-09) before getting traded with cornerback Sheldon Brown to Cleveland for linebacker Alex Hall and a pair of draft picks.
Gocong, 29, played well for the Browns in 2010-11 but missed all of last season after rupturing his Achilles' tendon in training camp.
"Today was the first time I stepped on a football field since last August and it felt great," he said.
The 6-foot-3, 263-pounder has the advantage of working with one of his former coaches. New Eagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis was the Browns' linebackers' coach in 2011-12.
Gocong started for the Browns in 2010 and 2011, collecting 145 tackles and five and a half sacks. He has the agility to play outside linebacker and the size to go inside depending on what scheme Davis decides to use.
"I can't give you details, but it's going to be exciting," Gocong said. "I'm not surprised Billy is a defensive coordinator. He's so smart and such a great coach."
Although he was only gone for three seasons, he is going to need some time to get to know his new teammates if he makes it past the weekend. Only one defensive player on the current roster - defensive end Trent Cole - was here in 2009.
The team has undergone a drastic overhaul since Kelly took over for former coach Andy Reid. Just 44 of the 90 players on the roster were part of the team last season.
One of the big questions entering the offseason workouts centers around the quarterback position.
Current starter Michael Vick is among five on the team, joining Nick Foles, Dennis Dixon, G.J. Kinne and rookie Matt Barkley, and they are only expected to carry three during the season.
All of them have different skill sets. Vick, Dixon and Kinne are known for their mobility, which would seem to suit the read-option offense that Kelly is supposed to install. But though Foles and Barkley aren't known for their running ability, Kelly has continually insisted that they could also succeed in his system.
"I'll make it fit," Barkley said Friday. "And I know coach Kelly has a way of making things work out as well. I'm not worried. It's a new challenge for me and I love it."
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