"Today we are extremely pleased to finally acquire the services of [DE] Darren Howard. I can't think of any player we have tried harder to get over the last several years, from his draft class to when we were hoping New Orleans would not franchise him, to actually trying to acquire him in a trade a couple of times over the last 24 months. So, today is Darren's day in Philadelphia. We finally got him and we are extremely pleased to have Darren Howard with us."
Opening remarks from head coach Andy Reid:
"Like Mr. Lurie mentioned, Darren was franchised by New Orleans two consecutive years now and that obviously talks a lot about the talent he is as a football player. The other thing that impressed us after evaluating him was that he was the captain of the football team. He was very well respected by the coaches and the players. We just look forward to bringing this type of football player and person into the program here and mixing him in with the other quality guys we have on this football team."
Opening remarks from Darren Howard:
"I just want to say that I am very excited to be here and be an Eagle. It's good to be in an organization that has wanted me for a number of years and is willing to put forth a commitment. I am going to reciprocate that and give everything I have to help this football team. I am excited to work with the other players on the defense. We have a lot of talented guys and I think it's going to be a big year for us."
(To Howard) On whether he is a leader:
"I think so. I think I lead by example. As these guys know, I am not very talkative. I think I set an example by the way I perform on the field and off the field with my professionalism. I am not a very vocal guy, but I am always where I'm supposed to be and doing what I am supposed to do. I think guys have levitated to that, especially in New Orleans."
(To Howard) On joining a stable franchise:
"It's almost like global opposites. From the organization that has everything, nice facilities, good people that are committed to having a winning organization at all times. I talked to coach Reid and he is a down to earth guy, someone I can relate to and someone I know I can respect. It's just good to be in this situation right now. I can't speak on how happy I am to be here right now. It worked out well for me. I didn't know how it was going to go, especially after being franchised for two years, but I am happy right now. It turned out the way that I wished it would."
(To Howard) On whether he knew he was going to sign at dinner last night:
"I didn't at dinner. I wanted it to happen, but I didn't know if it was going to. We left each other at dinner not knowing what was going to happen in the next couple of hours, but fortunately, everything worked out fine and we are here right now. It's all because of the front office and my agent. We got things together and it worked out for everybody."
(To Howard) On how the deal came together:
"I don't know. I got a phone call at one o'clock in the morning that said we had a deal done. Coach Reid called me as soon as they put something by him and I called my mom. She was half asleep, so I woke her up. But she was glad I called her. Like I said before, I am glad it worked out and I couldn't be in a better situation right now."
(To Reid) On what he has seen from Howard when watching film:
"Well he's a full package who can play both the run and the pass both very effectively. He's a double digit sack guy. He can play both outside and inside in pass rush situations, which makes him very valuable. He's a good all around football player."
(To Howard) On whether he was aware of the Eagles interest in him over the years:
"I was aware of it initially after my first four-year contract in New Orleans. I had heard that they were interested and from that point on I had heard from my agent that they had called for every year that I was franchised. I knew it was a possibility, even from three years ago that I might be able to get up here and become an Eagle. It came to reality. I got an Eagles' uniform on right now and it feels good."
(To Howard) On missing the final four games of last season with the Saints:
"That had nothing to do with my knee. That was something that was going on within the organization, between the front office, some of the coaches and myself. I just didn't feel like I was getting the same respect that I was giving the organization for six years. It just came to a head where Hurricane Katrina came through and everyone was real emotionally fatigued and everyone was really sensitive in that situation. So, that just escalated. The last four games had nothing to do with my knee. I am totally healthy right now and I am ready to play."
(To Howard) On experiencing Hurricane Katrina last year:
"It was really rough. We flew out of [New Orleans] the day before. We flew to California and stayed in a hotel. We were sitting in our rooms watching television. We were seeing buildings that he had seen the day before. We were looking at the Superdome, where we had a game two days before. It was surreal watching what was going on to your city and your people. It was devastating. Even though it was months and months ago, you still think about it. I make my home in New Orleans now, I still have a home there and I am coming from there right now. To see what is going on there everyday is hard, but it is good and encouraging seeing the city is fighting back and trying to get back to where it was. They had a Mardi Gras there; people were having fun and forgetting about it for a while. But, the reality is that it is still a situation that needs to be handled."
(To Howard) On whether his family or house were affected by the hurricane:
"None of my family was hurt. My house was affected a little bit. I had a bit of roof damage, fence, trees and wind damage, but no flood water at all."
(To Reid) On where he sees Howard fitting in to the DE rotation:
"Darren will work in on the RDE position. We are very fortunate to have defensive ends that have played a little bit and [DE] Jerome McDougle is battling himself back. It's a great situation for our football team, especially after adding someone of this guy's caliber in the mix. It's going to be fun to watch. The thing I mentioned earlier is that Darren is starting at that defensive end position, but he can also kick himself down in the nickel and play that inside. He had been very effective in this league playing the defensive tackle position."
(To Lurie) On whether there was more of an urgency to get a deal done after seeing how the free agency market had shaped up:
"No, the decision making is always about evaluating the player, evaluating what he can bring into a potential championship season and we have never been an organization that would every want to make a headline for the sake of making a headline. I think you look around the league and you find that the teams that make the right evaluations and make the smart decisions, whether it be the Patriots, Steelers or us, it's a much smarter way to go. It's great if you want to make a splash, but unless you pick the right player at the price, it's a poor way to build a championship team."
(To Reid) On whether there is still more the team can do in free agency:
"[General manager] Tom [Heckert] and I will keep our eyes open and see what is up. We have been evaluating a lot of players and we will see how it all works out."
(To Howard) On the moral of the Saints last year:
"It was certainly a weight for everybody, not only the players; it was bad for the coaches, staff and everyone that was in that situation. My situation was not different from anyone else's, but the fact that I was coming off two franchise years and the fact that I never had a commitment from the team, it just escalated towards the end of the year. It is something that happened and something that I would not take back, but things happen in this league and you try to have as much success as you can while you are in this league. Your career is so short; it just came to a point where I just had to make a move. The two years I was franchised, normally franchised [players] don't show up until the first game, miss all the minicamps; every time they franchised me I was at all the minicamps, I was at every coaching session, every training camp and I just didn't think they took that into account, towards the end of the year."
(To Howard) On what he did the last four weeks of the season:
"I went home. I came back to New Orleans and started picking up some of the things that were blown down around my house and tried to take care of things. You never know how bad a situation is and how stressful it is until you are out of it. It was a tough situation for me the last three years down there, but like I said before, I am extremely happy about where I am right now."