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Friday, October 10, 2003
Vincent puts injury, distractions behind him

PHILADELPHIA -- Dallas' top-rated offense boasts a quarterback who likes to throw downfield and a trio of speedy receivers that cause trouble for even the healthiest of defenses.

Philadelphia cornerback Troy Vincent is ready, three weeks after suffering a hamstring strain that knocked him out of one game and most of another.

"I want to put myself in this situation," Vincent said Friday. "I wouldn't go back out there if I wasn't prepared to play."

With the suddenly respectable Quincy Carter throwing to a receiving corps that boasts Joey Galloway, Terry Glenn and Antonio Bryant, Vincent said he expected to be tested by the Cowboys.

Vincent left the Eagles' 23-13 victory over Buffalo on Sept. 28 after the team's first defensive series and didn't return, then sat out the next week against Washington. Vincent said he's recovered from the injury and had great practices on Wednesday and Friday.

"I wouldn't go out there and pridefully think I could do something, especially against that kind of caliber of talent," he said. "There's too much to lose."

Vincent, however, was off on Thursday, attending the funeral of James Bodley, Vincent's legal guardian and agent, who died last Saturday. Vincent had been part of the Bodley family since he was a child and was still suffering from the loss.

"To lose a loved one is always a blow. It's devastating," he said. "I will move on. The family will move on. James would want us to focus and take care of the job in hand."

Vincent, a spiritually-sound player who's involved with a Christian Athletes group, wondered if there was a reason for the timing of his injury.

"God prepares us in mysterious ways," he said. "Maybe the injury was just enough to allow me to sit back because he knew what was going to take place Saturday morning."

The Eagles are happy to have Vincent back.

"You're talking about one of the top corners in the National Football League," coach Andy Reid said. "Having him back in your scheme is a plus."

Injuries continue to plague the Eagles, as safety Brian Dawkins, defensive end Jerome McDougle and cornerback Bobby Taylor will miss Sunday's game.

Pro Bowl guard Jermane Mayberry has a good chance of playing against the Cowboys after missing most of the last two games with an elbow strain, Reid said.

Free safety Clinton Hart and cornerbacks Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown have filled the voids in the secondary, and Reid said they all have made significant improvements in the last three weeks.

Vincent's injury also forced rookie free agent Roderick Hood into extended action at nickel back. Hood's only previous experience was in the preseason. He had an interception against the Redskins.

"They're doing enough to win the football game," Vincent said. "If we win the football game, everybody contributed. It's just another test this week in Dallas."