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Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Ronnie Brown, we hardly knew ye

By Dan Graziano

Well, it wasn't the deal for which Philadelphia Eagles fans were hoping in advance of Tuesday's trade deadline, but the Eagles did make a trade -- sending running back Ronnie Brown to the Detroit Lions for running back Jerome Harrison and a seventh-round 2013 draft pick. Eagles fans will remember Harrison as last year's sound backup to LeSean McCoy -- a role he'll assume again now alongside impressive rookie Dion Lewis. And Eagles fans will forever remember Brown for his ridiculous, inexplicable fumble at the goal line against the 49ers a couple of weeks ago when he decided at the last second to lateral the ball as he was being tackled.

That play is likely to be the lasting legacy in Philadelphia of a player whose surprise early-August signing was a symbol of the Eagles' gleeful, free-wheeling 2011 free-agent spree. In truth, Brown was always a luxury, much the way receiver Steve Smith and maybe even cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie appear to be on a team that could have used some of the money it spent on those players to add help at a position like linebacker. Harrison makes more sense as a backup to McCoy than does Brown, who gives the Lions the power runner they need to offset Jahvid Best but didn't really have a role in Philadelphia, where McCoy can handle the between-the-tackles grunt work as well as the open-field razzle-dazzle.

There had been rumors in advance of the deadline about a deal (maybe even with Detroit) involving cornerback Asante Samuel for linebacker help. But it now appears the Eagles, as they've said they were all along, are intent on keeping Samuel, Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha at cornerback and finding a way to get them all on the field.