Eagles tight end Bartrum returns from viral infection

Updated: August 12, 2006, 3:12 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

Thirteen-year veteran tight end Mike Bartrum returned to practice with the Philadelphia Eagles on Saturday, just two days after media reports suggested that he may have suffered a heart attack, an erroneous notion that drew the wrath of head coach Andy Reid.

One of the NFL's premier deep-snappers, and rewarded in 2005 with a Pro Bowl berth for that esoteric ability, Bartrum missed Thursday night's preseason game against the Cleveland Browns, the first contest of any kind he sat out since joining the Eagles in 2000. At least one media outlet reported that Bartrum, who experienced some chest pains early in the week, may have suffered a heart attack.

"He didn't have a heart attack," a visibly upset Reid said after the game. "Some of you guys have to get your facts straight before you start pulling triggers."

In fact, tests indicated that Bartrum, 36, was suffering from a viral infection. Team physicians Dr. Gary Dorshimer and Dr. Robert Norris conducted a battery of tests, Reid said, and identified no heart abnormalities. Reid reiterated that point both Friday and Saturday.

During the Saturday morning practice, Bartrum participated in drills, and completed the workout without incident. He did not speak to the media after practice.

Philadelphia officials did not elaborate on any treatments or medications Bartrum was taking. It is expected, barring complications, Bartrum will practice this week and will likely play in the Eagles' preseason game at Baltimore on Thursday night.

In his absence, defensive end Darren Howard, center Hank Fraley and tight end Steve Spech handled the deep-snapping chores against the Browns. But the Eagles view Bartrum, who also serves as their No. 3 tight end, a key role player, and a player essential to their special teams.

Bartrum has played in 160 games in stints with Kansas City (1993-94), Green Bay (1995), New England (1996-1999) and Philadelphia (2000-2005).

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here Insider.