PHILADELPHIA - When the Eagles gathered at the NovaCare Complex for Tuesday's mandatory minicamp workouts, tackle Jason Peters and cornerback Cary Williams were both in attendance.
They were among a few players who skipped at least some of the organized team activities (OTAs) in the previous weeks. Unlike the three-day minicamp, those workouts were voluntary in accordance with the NFL's collective bargaining agreement. Although coaches strongly urge players to be there, they are not required to do so.
"It wasn't an issue with (Eagles coach Chip Kelly)," Williams said after practice Tuesday. "Me and coach spoke and we're on the same page. I've played in two AFC championship games and I played in a Super Bowl. I know what it takes to be successful in this league and when the time comes to play, I'll be ready."
Williams had come under scrutiny because of his excuses for missing the workouts. He was a no-show for some because of dental work, supervising home repairs and attending his 3-year-old daughter's dance recital.
He staunching defended his decision Tuesday to put family ahead of football for a few days, insisting that he is as dedicated as ever. As an example, he will not be joining his former Ravens teammates to celebrate their Super Bowl victory with President Barack Obama at the White House today.
"I've talked to a couple of guys about what the experience is about," Williams said. "Basically, you go in and shake hands with the President and he's not even going to remember it, so it's not that significant. It would be a tremendous experience to meet the President, but at the end of the day I'm an Eagle now."
The sense of urgency would seem to be higher with the Eagles this season, given the drastic overhaul of the coaching staff and the roster. Only two assistant coaches - Duce Staley and Ted Williams - were retained from former coach Andy Reid's staff, leaving Kelly, offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and defensive coordinator Billy Davis to teach entirely new systems.
Williams, who played for Baltimore last season, is among a bevy of new players who are being asked to blend in with holdovers such as wide receiver DeSean Jackson and linebacker DeMeco Ryans.
Williams missed most of the OTAs and the offseason workout program for various reasons. He skipped last Friday's final OTA for the recital.
"I grew up without a two-parent househould and I take pride in being there for my daughter," Williams said. "She asked me to come and by my being there I was able to show my child that her daddy cares. It made her happy and it made me happy. I wouldn't change my decision for anything in the world. It's important to me to try to be a good father."
Neither Peters nor the team revealed the reasons for his absence from the OTAs.
Peters, a six-time Pro Bowler, was considered one of the top offensive linemen in the NFL before missing all of last season with a ruptured Achilles tendon.
He is part of an offensive line that was riddled by injuries last season. Center Jason Kelce (torn anterior cruciate ligament) and tackle Todd Herremans (torn foot tendon) also missed most of the season.
"It was a personal issue for me, end of story," Peters said Tuesday. "I'm not going to talk anymore about my injury. I'm back here today and I'm practicing every day. I'm not going to say whether I'm recovered. Come watch me play on Sundays and I'll let you be the judge. I'm not going to win all the battles, but I'm going to win most of them.
"I'm excited about the season. We've got the whole offensive line back working together and it should be great. I'm pretty sure we're not going 4-12 again."
Extra points: Only three players were not in attendance on Tuesday: defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga, rookie tight end Zach Ertz and cornerback/returner Jordan Poyer. Sopoaga will miss the minicamp because of a death in the family. Ertz (Stanford University) and Poyer (Oregon State) are not permitted to participate because their schools have not finished their spring semesters.
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