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Eagles trading places during OTAs

The SportsXchange

PHILADELPHIA -- Bill Belichick borrowed the idea for his up-tempo offense from Chip Kelly, and now Kelly is borrowing an idea from the New England Patriots coach.

He is giving a couple of his players some work on other side of the ball. Tight end Clay Harbor has taken some snaps during the Eagles' OTAs as a rush linebacker, and wide receiver Jason Avant has done the same at safety.

It should be noted that neither player is switching positions. Yet.

"I'm a tight end, and for emergency situations, and just versatility purposes, for me, I'm learning (outside linebacker)," Harbor said.

"You have 53 guys on the roster, you have (46) guys that dress. Something happens to where you need an outside linebacker, it would be good to know some. The coaches talked to me and said, 'Would you mind learning a little bit of linebacker, just in case?'"

Harbor, a 2010 fourth-round pick, was the Eagles' No. 2 tight end last season, playing nearly a third of their offensive snaps and catching a career-high 25 passes.

But since Kelly was hired, the Eagles signed another tight end, James Casey, in free agency, and selected another one, Zach Ertz, in the second round of the draft.

At 6-foot-3 and 252 pounds, Harbor is big enough to play outside linebacker. He's also fast enough. He ran a sub-4.6 40 in his Pro Day workout before the draft.

"Obviously, we've got a lot of tight ends here," he said. "I know there's a good chance that I might not be here, but I'm just going to play as hard as I can, learn what they need me to learn, do what I need to do to make this team; make this team better."

Avant, 30, has been one of the league's most reliable slot receivers. He caught a career-high 50 passes last season.

"Whatever the team wants me to do, I'll do it," he said of taking snaps at safety. I don't necessarily think it's a clouded future. I think it's an honor, in any way, for any coach to think you can do other things."

In other Eagles news on Monday:

--The Eagles added their fifth tight end to the roster Monday, signing free agent Will Shaw. To make room on the 90-man roster for Shaw, the Eagles released running back Miquel Maysonet. Maysonet became expendable last week when the Eagles signed unrestricted free-agent running back Felix Jones. The 6-foot-3, 245-pound Shaw caught 35 passes for 429 yards and five TDs as a senior at Youngstown State.

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