Cornerback Cary Williams, who signed a three-year, $17 million deal with the Eagles in March after winning a Super Bowl with the Ravens the month before, has been scarce during voluntarily workouts with his new team.
The absences have caused some consternation in Philly and nationally. Over the weekend, the Philadelphia Inquirer's Jeff McLane spent more than 700 words on the matter. And on Monday, Sports Illustrated's Peter King devoted his "Stat of the Week" section to Williams, noting among other things:
* Cary Williams' ranking by Pro Football Focus among all NFL cornerbacks in 2012: 69th.
* Cary Williams' quarterback rating allowed in coverage in 2012: 98.4.
* Cary Williams' reasons for missing offseason voluntary training and practice sessions in Philadelphia so far this spring: home construction, his wedding, dental work, his daughter's dance recital.
Finally, some good news on the Williams front: The cornerback will not attend a White House ceremony to honor the Super Bowl champion Ravens on Wednesday.
This means he'll be at the Eagles' mandatory minicamp that begins Tuesday, the team said via McLane, who added: "It was unclear if (Williams and former Ravens practice squad quarterback Dennis Dixon, who signed with the Eagles this offseason) requested to miss Wednesday's practice and were denied by Eagles coach Chip Kelly. Players that skip mandatory practices can be fined by their respective teams."
"You wish they would come, but you don't know their reason or their circumstance," wide receiver Jason Avant told McLane on Friday, adding that he chose to attend OTAs because "First of all, it's a new coaching staff -- you want to let everybody know that you are integral to the team winning."
In the grand scheme of things, missing voluntary workouts isn't a huge deal, even for a veteran player with a new team. But the 2013 Eagles aren't your typical NFL outfit. They're coming off a four-win season that led to the longtime coach losing his job. And the new guy, Chip Kelly, is looking to change … well, everything -- the atmosphere, the personnel, the offense -- in the span of a few months. And to do that, he needs his players to show up and buy in.
That said, if Williams plays well once the season starts no one will remember that he missed a glorified practice back in May because he was in a dentist's chair. But since training camps are still six weeks off and we don't have much to talk about, it's a story. (A story that includes impeccably straight teeth, but a story nonetheless.)