New year, similar situation for Eagles' Kinne

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New year, similar situation for Eagles' Kinne

Once again, G.J. Kinne has a spot on the Eagles' roster that won't exist when the regular season begins:

The fourth quarterback.

Last offseason, Kinne participated in OTAs and training camp with the Eagles but was always going to be the odd man out after Nick Foles, Michael Vick and Matt Barkley. He spent the season on the practice squad.

Vick isn’t around anymore, but Mark Sanchez is, leaving Kinne in the same uncomfortable position of fighting for a spot that he knows will be difficult to acquire.

Almost all of the talk regarding quarterback competition since OTAs began at the end of May has centered on the battle between Sanchez and Barkley for the backup spot. Kinne so far has been splitting the third-team reps with Barkley.

“I’m not worried about where I take reps,” Kinne said after Tuesday’s practice at minicamp. “I’m just worried about trying to get better. Whenever they put me in, that’s where we go.”

A former standout at Tulsa who went undrafted after finishing his college career in 2012, Kinne has yet to make an active NFL roster.

After spending most of the 2012 offseason with the New York Jets, Kinne played for the Omaha Nighthawks (UFL) and San Antonio Talons (AFL) that season before signing with the Eagles in February 2013. 

Performances at OTAs and minicamp can be held only so highly -- there are no pads or contact -- but Kinne looked sharp in drills during Tuesday’s practice and throughout OTAs.

“It’s been going a lot better than last year,” Kinne said. “I feel a lot more comfortable in the offense now.”

Spending last year with the Eagles -- even if only on the practice squad -- benefited Kinne by getting him acclimated to how NFL offenses are run, especially in a system like Chip Kelly’s that demands a lot out of its quarterbacks.

“We focus on everything [with quarterbacks],” Kelly said. “There's not one thing we look for more. You don’t say, ‘He has a quick release, so it’s OK he doesn’t have a strong arm.’ I think you want the whole package.”

Kinne knows where he stands among the Eagles’ backup quarterbacks. Barkley is a former fourth-round pick who starred for USC, and Sanchez has 62 NFL starts and two AFC Championship game appearances under his belt, leaving Kinne as the least heralded by far.

He tries not to think about that, choosing instead to focus on himself. If anything, having experience with his fellow quarterbacks will further his development.

“Mark, Matt and Nick have all been great to work with,” Kinne said. “Mark is a really good guy and everyone’s really excited to have him.”

Forever linked to Reggie White, Derek Barnett wants to create own identity

Forever linked to Reggie White, Derek Barnett wants to create own identity

Derek Barnett was 4 years old when Reggie White played in his final NFL game.

Nonetheless, the two are inexorably linked. And probably always will be.

Barnett broke White's University of Tennessee career sack record this past winter, and on Thursday — 25 years after White played his final game in an Eagles uniform — Barnett joined the team White spent his first eight NFL seasons with.

Barnett said Friday he's actually been in contact with White's widow, Sara, who contacted him after he broke Reggie's Volunteers sack record in the Music City Bowl against Nebraska in Nashville this past Dec. 30.

"She gave me a phone call about a week after the bowl game after I broke the record," Barnett said. "She just congratulated me on everything I've accomplished.

"Even though I broke the record, I told her, 'Reggie's still Reggie. I don't think I'm better than Reggie.' I told her thank you a lot and I really appreciated it.

"It meant a lot. She went out of her way. She didn't have to call me, but I'm glad she did."

Barnett recorded 33 sacks in his college career. White had 32.

Now, let's be realistic. Barnett is not White. Nobody is. White recorded 124 sacks in 121 games as an Eagle — more than one per game.

Add in his six years with the Packers and final season with the Panthers, and White had 198 sacks in his career. That stood as the NFL record until Bruce Smith finished with 200. White still ranks second all-time.

White, inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006, his first year of eligibility, died the day after Christmas in 2004.

It was Sara White who spoke for White at his Hall of Fame induction in Canton, Ohio, and Barnett said he can't wait to meet her in person.

"She lives in Nashville, so when I get the chance, I will go over there and meet with them," Barnett said. "But Reggie White, in Knoxville, is a legend. He's all over the place in the state of Tennessee."

Since White left Philly for Green Bay, the Eagles have drafted exactly one defensive end who's ever had double-digit sacks in a season. That was Trent Cole, a fifth-round pick in 2005.

One guy in a quarter of a century.

Barnett said he actually watched old film of White while he was in college to try and learn from his arsenal of pass-rush moves.

"I watched tape of him at Tennessee because I was trying to put the hump move in my game," Barnett said. "As a pass rusher, I feel like everyone has their own moves and I think that move is for him, probably not for me."

None of this is really fair to Barnett, who found himself being compared to maybe the greatest defensive player in NFL history before his NFL career was 24 hours old.

In an open letter to NFL teams published in the Players' Tribune this week, Barnett said he's proud he broke White's record but ultimately wants to be known for more.

"You might know me as the kid who broke Reggie White's sack record at Tennessee, but that's not the only thing I'm going to be remembered for by the time I leave this game," he wrote.

"Achieving that sack record definitely meant a lot to me, but I would have traded it away in a heartbeat to have won a championship while I was in college."

NFL draft Day 2 updates: Another corner off the board

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NFL draft Day 2 updates: Another corner off the board

The Latest on the NFL draft (all times Eastern):

7:15 p.m.

The Green Bay Packers opened the second round of the NFL draft by selecting Washington cornerback Kevin King.

Green Bay traded out of the first round, so King, a 6-3 former safety, was its first addition in this draft. The Packers owned the 29th pick, which they sent to Cleveland on Thursday night.

Just before Friday's selection, Commissioner Roger Goodell and former Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski thanked Philadelphia and the fans. Folks in the theater even booed Goodell's tribute, but not when "Jaws" repeated it.

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6:45 p.m.

Cardinals first-round draft pick Haason Reddick arrived in Arizona Friday and gushed about his new NFL home.

He praised the welcoming fans and called the area "heaven on earth."

Apparently nobody warned him about practicing in 120-degree summer temperatures.

The versatile linebacker also said he's looking forward to learning behind veteran Karlos Dansby, who was signed to a one-year contract.

Reddick, the 13th pick overall, said he's already talked to Dansby and that he's "blessed and lucky" to be in a position to learn from him.

Round two of the draft begins at 7 p.m. with a pick by Green Bay.

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