PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Jason Babin was so thankful to Jim Washburn for reviving his career that he followed him to Philadelphia.
The Eagles reached agreement on a five-year, $28 million contract with Babin, a Pro Bowl defensive end who had a breakout season under defensive line coach Washburn in Tennessee last year.
“He was a big part of the process,” Babin told The Associated Press on Thursday. “What he did for me was two-fold. He believed in me and gave me an opportunity to play and he allowed me to play the way I wanted. He saw the potential in me.”
Babin played for the Eagles in 2009, and recorded 2.5 sacks in 12 games. He signed with the Titans in free agency and had a career-best 12.5 sacks while earning his first trip to Hawaii. Washburn joined the Eagles in January, replacing Rory Segrest as the defensive line coach.
“He has unwavering principle,” Babin said of Washburn. “He wants the best guy to play. That defensive line room is a selfless room. Everybody wants everybody to do their absolute best.”
The Eagles won’t be able to officially announce an agreement with Babin until Friday. He can join the team and take part in meetings, but won’t be able to practice until Aug. 4.
“I guess I’ll take notes,” Babin said. “I like to work out and I’ll keep doing that.”
A first-round pick by Houston in 2004, the 31-year-old Babin never had more than five sacks in a season until last year. He has 30 career sacks in seven seasons playing for five different teams.
Babin will play opposite two-time Pro Bowl end Trent Cole. He joins a crowded line that includes 2010 first-round pick Brandon Graham, Juqua Parker, Ricky Sapp, Darryl Tapp, Daniel Te’o-Nesheim and Philip Hunt. Graham isn’t expected to be ready for the start of the season after having surgery for a torn knee ligament late last year.
The Eagles prefer to rotate their linemen, keeping guys fresh late in games against weary blockers. Babin has no problem being part of a rotation.
“If you truly go as hard as you possibly can on every single play, you can’t play every down,” he said. “You would be lying to yourself, the coaches and the fans. A rotation gives guys a chance to play and it keeps everyone happy.”
Babin chose the defending NFC East-champion Eagles for another reason besides reuniting with Washburn.
“This is my last contract and I wanted to go to a team with a high-powered offense,” he said. “With Mike Vick, (LeSean) ‘Shady’ McCoy, DeSean Jackson and the receiving corps, we’re going to score a lot of points and that means we get to rush the passer.”
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)