Levens signs on with Eagles

For the first time since he was drafted, Dorsey Levens will enter training camp with a new team – the Philadelphia Eagles. The running back signed a one-year deal with Philadelphia over the weekend and is expected to play behind Duce Staley.<p>

The Green Bay Packers, for whom Levens played since he was selected in the fifth round of the 1994 NFL draft, released him in late February. Levens was scheduled to receive a $500,000 roster bonus on March 1, but the Packers instead opted to create $2.5 million in salary cap room.

Green Bay negotiated with Levens, 32, as late as July 9, but he reportedly signed a one-year deal last Friday with Philadelphia worth $850,000 plus incentives based on playing time and production, according to his agent Hadley Engelhard. He took a pay cut from $6 million to $1.4 million last year and played behind Ahman Green. Levens also stepped in as the team's kickoff returner in place of the injured Rossum late in the season.

"I was excited to get the deal done," Levens said in a statement released by the Eagles. "The Eagles are certainly a Super Bowl contender, and that was very important to me. I want to help them win a championship. I still have a lot of gas left in the tank."

The Packers recently signed free agents Jason Brookins and Ki-Jana Carter. They will compete for backup spots behind Ahman Green against Rondell Mealey and Herbert "Whisper" Goodman.

Packers rookies report to training camp July 24. Full-squad practices begin July 27.

The 6-foot-1, 230-pound Levens replaces running back Correll Buckhalter, who suffered a season-ending knee injury during a minicamp practice. Because Staley has missed significant time in each of the last two seasons, the team wanted a solid veteran who could fill in if necessary.

Eagles head coach Andy Reid was on the Packers' staff for the first five seasons of Levens' career in Green Bay.

"I know what he can do," Reid said. "He knows this offense very well. He can run and is also a good pass-catcher. We want to bring him in and create some added depth at the running back position."

Levens is the fourth-ranking rusher in Packers history (3,937 yards) behind Jim Taylor (8,207), John Brockington (5,024) and Tony Canadeo (4,197). He also is the leading pass-catcher among running backs in team annals with 271 receptions, good for 11th place overall in Packers career receiving.

The 6-1, 230-pound Syracuse, N.Y., native also is the Packers' all-time leading postseason rusher with 647 yards, holding the team's top three single-game rushing performances in playoff competition, and is Green Bay's third-leading receiver in postseason play with 41 catches.

Levens led the Packers in rushing in both 1997 (1,435 yards) and 1999 (1,034). He and Ahman Green are the third and fourth players in Packers history to have posted two (or more) 1,000-yard seasons.

Levens' 1,435-yard production in 1997 remains the second-highest single season rushing total in Packers history.

But he was plagued by knee, rib and ankle injuries from 1998 through 2000 that limited him to 26 games with 23 starts. Last year, Levens played in 15 games with one start and finished with 164 yards rushing on 44 carries. He also caught 24 passes for 159 yards.

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