The Eagles had near-perfect attendance as they kicked off their Organized Team Activities (OTAs) on Tuesday morning, but there were a few notable absences.
Fletcher Cox, Jason Peters and Donnie Jones are not with the team. (Update: Neither is Marcus Smith.)
Marcus Smith wasn't at OTAs today either. No real reason from team other than they're voluntary. Smith was not mentioned by Pederson earlier— Dave Zangaro (@DZangaroNBCS) May 23, 2017
Unless there something we don't know with Marcus Smith, not a great idea to skip OTAs. Not sure what he's thinking.— Dave Zangaro (@DZangaroNBCS) May 23, 2017
"Obviously as you guys know too, it's a voluntary offseason program," head coach Doug Pederson said. "I've been in touch with all three of those guys, so we've communicated for the reasons for them not being here. But no worries with them going forward."
This is the second year in a row that Cox has missed the start of OTAs. Last year, he was waiting on his big contract, which came after the minicamp in June.
Cox, who signed a mega contract less than a year ago, sent out an Instagram story on Monday in Philipsburg, Netherlands Antilles.
"The reason is satisfactory, but again it's a voluntary program," Pederson said. "I would love for everybody to be here. That's just me personally, I would love everybody to be here. But I know it's not always going to work out that way.
"Fletcher is one of the leaders on the football team and guys like that, you do expect to be here, but I get the rules, we abide by the rules and he's one of the guys too, at the end of the day, I'm gonna hang my hat on and go to war with."
As far as the guys who are with the Eagles this week, Pederson revealed some of the starters at positions in question (see OTA storylines).
Second-year guard Isaac Seumalo will begin OTAs as the team's starting left guard, taking Allen Barbre's place. Pederson did say Barbre is getting over a calf injury.
"This gives [Seumalo] an opportunity to work in there so we can get Allen," the head coach said. "Allen's a guy, as you guys know, one of those versatile offensive linemen who can play guard and tackle, so when we get Allen back we want to work him not just at guard but also at tackle."
Jason Kelce, who has been the center of plenty of rumors and whispers this offseason, is still going to take first-team reps at center, while Stefen Wisniewski and Seumalo will also get some reps at center.
This first round of OTAs runs three days: May 23-25.