MIAMI (AP) – Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Jerome McDougle was shot in the stomach by armed robbers, police said Friday.

The team said it was optimistic the injury is not career-threatening

“We’re told it (the bullet) didn’t hit any major organs, and that’s a plus,” Eagles coach Andy Reid said. ”

McDougle, who played at the University of Miami and is a South Florida native, had been scheduled to be in the team’s camp Monday, the reporting date for Eagles’ veterans. Rookies reported Friday.

Police said the confrontation started when three armed robbers approached the 27-year-old McDougle in his silver Mercedes coupe late Thursday in southwest Miami.

With their faces covered, the suspects demanded that he hand over his property, then one of them shot McDougle in the stomach, police said. Police said the robbers didn’t say what property they wanted.

McDougle opened the door and tried to get out of the car, but another robber fired two shots, which police said missed him and hit the inside of the door.

The robbers, who police said were likely teens, fled on foot and remain at large. It wasn’t clear whether McDougle was in his car or near it when he was approached, police said.

McDougle was airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center, where he underwent surgery.

Joining McDougle at the hospital Friday was his older brother, Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Stockar McDougle, who has been excused from practice. Dolphins coach Nick Saban said he didn’t know exactly how long Stockar McDougle would miss practice, but the six-year veteran would have some leeway.

“His personal family situation comes before what’s going on here,” Saban said.

Jerome McDougle was a first-round pick in 2003, but has been plagued with injuries in Philadelphia. In two seasons, he had 18 tackles in 19 games, including two sacks.

In Albany, N.Y., where the New York Giants reported for training camp Friday, McDougle’s former Miami teammate, Jeremy Shockey, said it’s not uncommon for Miami players, or other athletes, to be targets in tough neighborhoods.

“You’ve just got to be careful where you go and what you (are) seen wearing and everything like that. … I don’t really wear jewelry. I don’t really dress up with diamonds. I try to stay out of bad neighborhoods,” Shockey said.

AP-ES-07-29-05 1829EDT

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