Springs would play safety for Philly

PHILADELPHIA -- Looking to bolster a depleted secondary, the Philadelphia Eagles met with veteran cornerback Shawn Springs on Wednesday.

Springs, who turns 34 next week, was released by Washington in a salary-cap purge. He spent the last five seasons with the Redskins after playing his first seven with Seattle.

The Eagles traded two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Lito Sheppard to the New York Jets and lost seven-time Pro Bowl safety Brian Dawkins (Denver) and backup safety Sean Considine (Jacksonville) in free agency.

Springs said the Eagles would move him to safety. He'd probably compete with second-year pro Quintin Demps for a starting spot opposite Quintin Mikell. Asante Samuel and Sheldon Brown are the starting cornerbacks and Joselio Hanson is the nickel back.

"When I played for Washington, I was all over the field," Springs said. "I wasn't a full-time safety, but we had a lot of packages where I was like a safety."

Springs already visited New England and indicated he had another trip planned. He's familiar with Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson, who was a linebackers coach with Seattle when Springs was drafted by the Seahawks with the No. 3 overall pick in 1997.

"I always liked his system," Springs said.

Springs missed seven games with a calf injury last season and finished with 36 tackles and one interception. He's played a full season just four times in his career.

Springs, who earned a trip to the Pro Bowl in 1998, has 32 career interceptions and 8½ sacks. He recorded six of those sacks in 2004 with the Redskins. Springs also had five picks that season and became the first defensive back to lead his team in interceptions and sacks.

The Eagles reached the NFC Championship Game for the fifth time in eight years, losing at Arizona 32-25. They signed offensive lineman Stacy Andrews to a six-year deal last Saturday, upgrading a unit that could lose longtime bookend tackles Jon Runyan and Tra Thomas. Both players are free agents and only Thomas figures to get an offer to stay.

The front office has taken quite a hit publicly for not re-signing Dawkins. He spent 13 seasons with the Eagles and was one of the most beloved athletes to ever play in Philadelphia.

Dawkins clearly was upset by negotiations with the Eagles and agonized over his decision to leave.

"For that organization, this was a business deal and it was not business for me," Dawkins said in a radio interview on 950 ESPN. "People think I wanted to get to free agency. I did not want to get to free agency. I've never gone to free agency. I've had times in the past where I could have collected big bucks on the open market, but I did not want to get there. So why would I want to get there all of a sudden now on my last contract? No, I wanted to be an Eagle."

Dawkins was the NFC's defensive player of the month in December and went to the Pro Bowl, but he said his age was the determining factor for the Eagles.

"At the end of the day you're a 36-year-old safety," he said.