Eagles sign four-time Pro Bowl LB Trotter

September 30, 2009

Despite an impressive win on Sunday, the Philadelphia Eagles are still looking to bolster their defense and are doing so with a familiar name.

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The Eagles signed former starting middle linebacker Jeremiah Trotter to a free-agent contract Tuesday, a one-year deal for the league minimum. To make room for him, the Eagles released quarterback Jeff Garcia.

"Jeremiah Trotter has always been one of my favorite players," coach Andy Reid said. "He has worked very hard to keep himself in shape and we are pleased with where he is physically. We are excited to give him an opportunity to contribute to our football team."

Trotter has been out of the league since 2007, but has held two impressive workouts with the team and head coach Andy Reid over the past week.

"I'm happy to be back in green," Trotter said. "I was raised in those colors, in that system. I'm part of this city."

The Eagles are currently on their bye week, which will allow the 32-year-old Trotter to get re-acclimated to the locker room and playbook. The Eagles have struggled to replace starting MLB Stewart Bradley, who was lost to a season-ending knee injury early in the preseason.

For Trotter, who has earned four Pro Bowl berths in his Eagles career, this marks his third tour of duty with the team. Originally an Eagles third-round pick in 1998, Trotter quickly became a fan favorite and starter in the middle of late defensive coordinator Jim Johnson's attacking defense.

After two straight Pro Bowl berths in 2000-01, Trotter flew the Philly coop after a high-publicized contract negotiations turned sour and signed with the Redskins in 2002. However, Trotter struggled in Washington with a knee injury and new scheme, eventually being cut by the Redskins after the 2003 season.

But despite the previously contentious contract blowup between player and head coach, Trotter lobbied Reid to rejoin the team in the summer of 2004 and earned a job as merely a special-teams player to start the season. Trotter regained his old starting spot by midseason and re-established himself as a major run-stopper in Philly during the team's 2004 Super Bowl run.

Trotter held Philly's starting middle linebacker job through 2006, earning two more Pro Bowl berths in 2004 and 2005. But the Eagles abruptly released Trotter in the summer before the 2007 season due to Trotter's lingering knee issues. Trotter was picked up by Tampa Bay later that summer and appeared in three games in the 2007 season.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.