- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 2, 2006

The wave of injuries that, along with Terrell Owens’ ego, wrecked last season for the Eagles has yet to abate.

Starting running back Brian Westbrook stretched a ligament in a foot during the Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 6 and remains out.

Backup Correll Buckhalter, who missed three of the past four seasons because of knee injuries, returned with a bang, making a 48-yard catch against the Ravens on Aug. 17. However, Buckhalter has produced an undistinguished 39 yards on 12 carries in the preseason before last night’s finale against the Jets.

“That’s the way it goes,” coach Andy Reid said of Westbrook, who missed the final four games of last season with a foot injury. “I don’t want to risk any further injury on that thing. I want to make sure it’s healed and healed right.”

Receiver Todd Pinkston missed all of last season because of a ruptured Achilles tendon and returned on Aug. 25 to catch one pass for 4 yards against the Steelers. The Eagles, however, acquired receiver Donte Stallworth from the Saints on Monday and cut Pinkston on Wednesday.

Defensive end Jerome McDougle, the Eagles’ first-round pick in 2003, missed all of last season after being shot in the abdomen. McDougle broke ribs in practice on Aug. 13 and remains sidelined, as does defensive tackle Darwin Walker by the same injury.

Only six players still on the roster played in all 10 of the Eagles’ playoff games from the 2001 to 2004 seasons: quarterback Donovan McNabb, offensive tackles Jon Runyan and William Thomas, safety Brian Dawkins, kicker David Akers and snapper Mike Bartrum.

Back where he belongs — Think Kenard Lang is happy to play at defensive end for the Broncos, the AFC runners-up last season?

Lang spent last season at linebacker in the 3-4 scheme of the AFC North doormat Browns, and he makes it clear that he didn’t much care for that position. Or canned meat, for that matter.

“If you’re used to eating Spam for these past four years — Spam, Spam, Spam, you know what I mean? — and then you have a chance to eat some steak and some lobster, some filet mignon, you’re going to do everything you can to stay that way,” Lang said. “Linebacker, a guy goes in motion, things switch up, you drop, you cover — that was too much for me. I had too much smoke coming out of my ears.”

Big Daddy’s back — One of Lang’s former Redskins teammates, Dan Wilkinson, is almost as happy to be with the Dolphins. The Lions won just 16 games during his three seasons in Detroit. Wilkinson, the No. 1 overall pick in the 1994 draft, missed just seven games in his 12 seasons, but his only playoff appearance came in 1999 with the Redskins.

“I can definitely still dominate the line of scrimmage,” said the 6-foot-4, 340-pound Wilkinson, who was granted his release by the Lions in May because of his unhappiness with the conditioning demands of new coach Rod Marinelli. “That’s always been my strength and that will continue. I’m healthy and I’m strong.”

Overrated — Leonard Davis was so highly thought of coming out of Texas in 2001 that he was drafted No. 2 overall by the Cardinals ahead of such future Pro Bowl perennials as running back LaDainian Tomlinson, defensive lineman Richard Seymour and guard Steve Hutchinson.

“I have confidence in my abilities,” said Davis, who shuttled between right guard and right tackle before coach Dennis Green arrived in 2004 and made him the left tackle. “I have the physical abilities to pretty much play any position I want.”

But five years into his career, the 6-foot-6, 365-pound Davis hasn’t approached Pro Bowl status and has a staggering $9.2 million salary cap number this season. Last year, he was whistled for 12 false start penalties on the struggling Cardinals line.

Vexed Volek — Titans quarterback Billy Volek already had Vince Young, the third pick in the draft, waiting to take his job. Now he also has longtime NFL starter Kerry Collins, who the team signed Monday.

“Kerry brings a lot of professionalism, a lot of leadership. Nothing fazes him,” Titans offensive coordinator Norm Chow said.

Volek was more than fazed by Collins’ arrival.

“I guess they want a quarterback who is perfect in every throw and every read, and that is going to be hard to find,” said Volek, who hasn’t thrown for a touchdown in 38 attempts heading into last tonight’s preseason finale at Green Bay.

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