Josh Parry wasn't all that surprised to learn the Philadelphia Eagles wanted him back in training camp for a third year.
But Parry was surprised to hear they wanted him as a fullback, not a linebacker.
Parry's 6-2, 250-pound body certainly is suited for either position, but it took more than the right size to make the Eagles think about switching him from defense to offense.
''He caught the ball very well as a linebacker, and we thought he'd have a chance to make our team as a fullback with the skills that he showed at linebacker,'' Eagles coach Andy Reid said.
''He had a couple shots at making it as a linebacker and it didn't work out for him,'' Reid said. ''The one thing about Josh is that he's very smart, and you need to have that as a fullback. You don't necessarily need to be the greatest athlete on the field or the fastest athlete on the field. If you have a good feel for the game you can make that thing work, and if you have a good toughness and leverage you make that thing work.''
Parry might just find work as a fullback. After signing free agent Jon Ritchie away from the Oakland Raiders, the Eagles are expected to make more use of the position.
At the least, they will be looking for a fullback for the practice squad. There also could be an extra roster spot for a fullback because with Brian Westbrook in the role of running back and return specialist, the Eagles don't need a roster spot exclusively for a return specialist as they did last season for Brian Mitchell.
''I want to just learn from ,'' Parry said. ''He is one of the best fullbacks in the game, and everybody needs a backup. If it ends up they utilize the fullback position more, it could help my chances.''
There have been some glitches in the transition process, but that is not entirely unexpected considering the dramatic switch involved.
''Just getting a feel for the offensive system is a challenge,'' Parry said. ''The play calls, the cadences, the little things. And it's weird knowing where I'm going on offense. On defense, you react to where the offense is going.''
Did he ever study the Eagles' offense while working out on defense?
''It never even crossed my mind,'' Parry said. ''The defense here is so complicated that I was engrossed in trying to learn it.''
Parry auditioned fairly well as a linebacker; just not good enough to make it.
''He's a tough guy,'' Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson said. ''And if he makes the team, in a pinch you could probably line him up there at linebacker in a game.''
Bribery does not pay: According to Eagles officials, the first person camping out in line Friday evening to get Donovan McNabb's autograph Saturday morning refused an offer of $1,500 for her spot. Interestingly, Eagles officials said the next two people in line wanted to get autographs from rookie tight end L.J. Smith.
Today in camp: Workouts are scheduled for 8:45 a.m. and 2:15 p.m., with the latter session devoted to special teams. The running backs are scheduled to sign autographs in the tent after the morning session. Fans are encouraged to call the Eagles' information line (610-758-6868) to confirm times and public access.
His third training camp is a new challenge for Parry
He's making the transition from linebacker to fullback.
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