New Orleans - What might have been intended as an endorsement of backup quarterback Kevin Kolb by Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid here on Tuesday morning probably sounded just as much like a sales pitch.
"I would tell people that they're going to win a championship with this guy," said Reid during the annual coaches' breakfast that is part of the NFL league meetings every year.
Reid was quick to emphasize that the Eagles have not definitively decided yet that they will deal Kolb, the four-year veteran who began the 2010 season as the starter, then suffered a concussion in the opener and subsequently lost the No. 1 job to Michael Vick. Reid noted that he will "do what's best for the Eagles," but did not deny that there is significant interest in the 2007 second-rounder.
There have been reports this week that at least one suitor has offered Philadelphia a first-round choice for Kolb, but club officials have not confirmed that for attribution. Team president Joe Banner told Philadelphia-area media members that there has been interest in Kolb, and more significant interest than teams demonstrated last offseason in Donovan McNabb. The Eagles eventually shipped McNabb to division-rival Washington for second- and fourth-round choices.
Banner suggested here Monday that there has been "good interest" in Kolb, who has said he wants to be a starter somewhere in the league. Two coaches acknowledged on Tuesday that they have explored the potential of a Kolb deal, and one allowed that his club has made "some inquiries" about his availability. But citing the lockout and its constraints, neither would speak for attribution.
Complicating any potential trade is the ongoing lockout, during which players cannot be dealt. There is a suspicion that, the longer the lockout drags, the more it diminishes the chances of a Kolb deal. Reid didn't address that issue, but did say that potential suitors have identified themselves.
"You know who the (interested) people are," Reid said. "They have a way (even in the lockout) of making it known. There are people interested, and that's really a credit to him."
Another sticky element is the matter of Kolb's contract. The Eagles signed Kolb to a two-year, $12.26 million extension in 2010. His salary for 2010 is certainly more than palatable for a starting-caliber quarterback, $1.392 million, but is the final year of his deal. No franchise is apt to trade for Kolb without a long-term extension, and the lockout precludes any new deals from being negotiated.
Kolb, 26, has appeared in 19 games, with seven starts, in four seasons. He started two games in 2009, when McNabb was injured, and registered more than 300 yards in each of those contests. Last season, he started five games, most of them when Vick sustained a rib cartilage injury, and twice threw for 250-plus yards.
For his career, the former University of Houston standout has completed 194 of 319 passes for 2,082 yards with 11 touchdown passes, 20 interceptions and a passer rating of 73.2.
Reid likened Kolb to Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, when the Green Bay Packers dealt the then-untested passer to Seattle in 2001. Even though Reid had not worked with Hasselbeck directly - he was the Green Bay quarterbacks coach 1997-98 and Hasselbeck was selected by the Packers until 1999 - Reid had a familiarity with him.
The Eagles chose Kolb in 2007 to eventually become the starter. But, "crazy things happened," Reid said, alluding to the addition of Vick, the injury to Kolb and Vick's emergence as the starter.
Perhaps intentionally, maybe unwittingly, Reid sounded a lot like a guy attempting to stir even further interest in Kolb.
"This kid," Reid said, "is a championship quarterback."
But apparently not in Philadelphia.
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