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LJ reacts to getting tagged

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"Philly is a great place to play when you're winning"
LJ Smith held a conference call last night to give his reactions to being franchised by the Eagles and more or less said all the right things.
"Any time you have a job in this league, it's a good situation," Smith said by telephone last night. "Being that I come from humble roots, I'm not going to act spoiled about this. I know most people would die to be in the situation I'm in."

While LJ hasn't made a secret of his wanting the Eagles to pay him over the last year or two, he also hasn't made a spectacle of himself. He hasn't held out, he hasn't gotten nasty with the organization, he's done it the right way. I think the team, the league, and the fans appreciate that.

"It's still kind of weird, because I really, really wasn't expecting to be here," Smith said when asked about the franchise tag. "Now, it's a one-year deal. I really didn't help myself by being injured. If I had a great season and they franchise-tagged me, I'd be upset. I'm happy they're bringing me back, but it is a one-year deal, and I'm going to be in the same boat this year as next year.

"Hopefully I'll be healthy and be able to show people what I'm capable of doing. I do still want that long-term security, but I wasn't expecting to get it from the Eagles. Obviously they've evaluated me and they're saying, 'When L.J. is healthy we can use him and he helps us.' That's a compliment and I'll take it. Philly is a great place to play when you're winning, and hopefully we can get some wins and I can help this team pick up where it left off."

It's actually kind of refreshing to see a pro athlete that is able to see reality. He's right, had he been healthy and had a pro bowl season this would be a different situation. The Eagles would be using the rules to keep a fine young player that deserves a big raise for a cut rate price... but LJ didn't have that kind of year. Thanks to one injury after another he had career lows in just about every category. He knows that and he accepts that it didn't put him in the best bargaining position.

He also went on to say he's "never been the type to sit out" when asked whether he'd report to minicamps although generally he was noncommittal about the situation.

My guess is that he'll be in on time and 100% committed this year. This isn't the Corey Simon situation. Corey was a top 10 pick and a former pro bowler. In his mind he had nothing left to prove and wanted a big long term deal or he wasn't going to play. LJ isn't at that level and he recognizes that. He knows he has something to prove and that a big 2008 season could net him a deal far bigger than he'd get as a free agent this year.

Last year I wrote an article about what money LJ would likely get on the open market.