It’s not exactly the 11th hour, but it is the 16th game, so Antonio Dixon was surprised when his phone rang on Tuesday and the voice on the other end wanted to know if he would be interested in signing a two-year contract with the Eagles.
Dixon, a defensive tackle, played for the Eagles for three seasons -- he started 10 games in 2010 -- before being released in training camp this year because he didn't suit the Wide-9 formation the team was playing at the time. He signed with Indianapolis and played two games with the Colts before he was released again, so Dixon headed home to Homestead, Fla., to lose some weight and stay in shape and hope another team would call.
But, as week after week went by and there were no calls, he was beginning to accept that his career might be over. And then, finally, the phone rang.
“I was surprised a little bit because you never know what changes or who'll call you,'' Dixon said. “I'm really happy to be back, though, to play with the Eagles again.”
There's a good chance he wouldn't be back with them if Jim Washburn, the defensive line coach who installed the Wide-9, hadn't been fired a month ago. But Dixon said he harbored no bad feelings toward Washburn or the Eagles after they released him.
“I know it's a business,'' he said. “I've seen a lot of people get cut -- I was one of them. It's a business, and you can't be mad for a long time. You've just got to get over it.”
The Eagles signed Dixon because it appears rookie defensive tackle Fletcher Cox won't play in Sunday's season finale against the New York Giants. Coach Andy Reid said there was no guarantee Dixon would suit up for Sunday's game, but Dixon later said he had been told he would be active and see playing time. And he said he's ready.
“This is why they brought me back, because they need my help,'' he said. “And I told them I would give them everything I've got.”