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Feeley Gets 3-Year Extension From Eagles

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AP
A.J. Feeley's desire to stay in Philadelphia outweighed his hope to be a starting quarterback. Feeley and the Eagles agreed on a three-year contract extension Sunday, nearly eliminating the chance that Jeff Garcia will return next season.

"I love Philadelphia. I love the city. I love the organization," Feeley said. "It's where I want to be. It was a no-brainer for me in that regard. There's something to be said for being with a team you love everything about it."

Feeley's new deal runs through 2010. Garcia, who helped the Eagles win the NFC East title and a playoff game after Donovan McNabb was injured, will become a free agent on Friday.

"A.J. Feeley has been very productive as a quarterback in Philadelphia," general manager Tom Heckert said. "He's won some games at crucial times for this franchise and he gives us a great amount of confidence as a backup to Donovan McNabb. A.J.'s proven to be very comfortable in this offensive scheme and we look forward to having him in the fold for the next several years."

Garcia, a three-time Pro-Bowl quarterback in San Francisco, revived his career in Philadelphia. He led the Eagles to five straight wins down the stretch, completing 61.7 percent of his passes for 1,309 yards, 10 touchdowns and two interceptions.

The Eagles were 5-5 and seemingly out of the playoff picture when McNabb tore a knee ligament on Nov. 19. But with Garcia leading the way, they captured their fifth division title in six years.

Garcia, who turned 37 Saturday, played under a one-year contract after miserable one-year stints in Cleveland and Detroit. His hard-nosed, gritty style quickly made him a fan favorite in Philadelphia. He had said he wanted to return in a backup role, but it's highly doubtful the Eagles will bring him back now that Feeley is under contract for four more years.

Tampa Bay and Denver are among the teams reportedly interested in Garcia, who proved that he's still a quality NFL quarterback.

Feeley is confident he could've had similar success had he replaced McNabb.

"I think every quarterback in the same situation would feel that way," he said. "If you don't feel like you're capable of playing, you shouldn't be in this business."

The 29-year-old Feeley was originally drafted by Philadelphia in the fifth round of the 2001 draft. He was 4-1 as a starter in the last five regular-season games in 2002, helping the Eagles clinch the division and first place in the NFC after McNabb and backup Koy Detmer were injured.

Feeley was traded to Miami in 2004 for a second-round draft pick the Eagles used to select wide receiver Reggie Brown. He was traded to San Diego after 1 1/2 seasons with the Dolphins and returned to the Eagles last season as the No. 3 quarterback behind McNabb and Garcia.

"To go to Miami and go through that fiasco was tough and then to go to San Diego and be the odd man out, it was tough," Feeley said. "For me, I look at it like it made me a better player. It made me stronger. It made me a little more dedicated. It made me smarter and it made me a better football player because I learned more offenses."

With the Eagles, Feeley has completed 59.2 percent of his passes for 1,496 yards, 11 TDs and six interceptions while going 4-1.

Overall, he's thrown for 3,389 yards, 22 TDs, 21 interceptions and has completed 55.7 percent of his passes for a passer rating of 71.1 in 20 career games, including 13 starts.

He's far more comfortable playing in the Eagles' version of the West Coast offense than any other.

"It's the system I've known," he said. "The offense fits me. We have a great staff. They put the quarterback in a great situation."

Feeley should get plenty of work with the first-team offense in minicamps and perhaps training camp. McNabb is scheduled to be ready for training camp, though it could take him longer to fully recover.

"It's a big deal," Feeley said of workin with the starters. "Every guy looks forward to that. It should be fun."