Eagles Continue Philly Reunion, Sign Defensive End

Written By Bob Cunningham On Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Derrick Burgess returns to the city that drafted him.

With Brandon Graham likely to land on Injured Reserve for the rest of the season, Andy Reid and Howie Roseman had a roster spot to play with. Smart money said that, because Daniel Te'o-Nesheim is not ready to be a steady contributor, the spot would go to a defensive end.

But if you guessed the guy replacing Graham would be Derrick Burgess, you need to close out your web browser and head to Atlantic City and/or Las Vegas.

Burgess last played for the Eagles during their Super Bowl season in 2004, and joins Cliff Lee in the Philadelphia homecoming this week.

You might remember Burgess as the guy with two sacks of Michael Vick in the Eagles' NFC Championship win over the Atlanta Falcons and one sack of Tom Brady in the Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots.

Burgess left via free agency after the '04 season to chase the money and become a starter with the Oakland Raiders. Over the next four seasons, Burgess racked up 38.5 sacks, including two seasons with double-digits before being traded to the Patriots to play outside linebacker in their 3-4 scheme.

The drop-off was painfully obvious with the position switch. In two years with the Pats, Burgess was only able to muster 8.5 sacks.

The thinking in bringing him back now is likely two-fold. One, he can be a pass-rushing option to spell Juqua Parker, who is also 32 years old. And two, he will be able to play in the "Joker" position defensive coordinator Sean McDermott loves so much due to his experience as a stand-up linebacker with the Patriots.

It also doesn't hurt, I suppose, to inject another veteran into a very young defense.

Burgess is by no means the missing piece that will launch this team to the Super Bowl, but if he can take about 10-12 meaningful snaps per game to keep Parker fresh it should result in an overall better defense.

And considering the way this defense has looked as of late, an improvement is certainly needed.

UPDATE: The deal is for two years, and Graham has officially been placed on IR.

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