Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin and defensive tackle Mike Patterson, who both recently recovered from serious health scares, returned to the team on Saturday and could be in uniform for Philadelphia's regular-season opener.
Both are actually on target to play in St. Louis against the Rams on Sept. 11, according to Eagles coach Andy Reid.
Maclin underwent five months of tests from various specialists to determine why he was experiencing fevers, trouble sleeping and weight loss. Although the tests were inconclusive, doctors on Wednesday cleared Maclin to return to football after ruling out anything serious. Maclin's symptoms have gone away.
Patterson suffered a seizure on Aug. 3 as several thousand fans at the team's Lehigh University training camp complex watched.
He was transported to Lehigh Valley Hospital in nearby Allentown, where tests determined that the seizure was caused by a brain AVM (arteriovenous malformation), a prenatal tangling of blood vessels.
Eagles trainer Rick Burkholder said on Saturday that Patterson was cleared by four physicians specializing in brain AVMs to return to football. Burkholder said his condition will eventually have to be treated, but the method hasn't been determined.
Maclin won't begin practicing until next week, but Patterson was back on the field Saturday when the Eagles returned to their South Philadelphia complex after a three-week training camp.
“I have to get it taken care of eventually, but there is no big risk right now,” Patterson said. “I don't have to worry about it. The good thing is I'm still talking to doctors and figuring out how to take care of it, but there is no risk as far as football is concerned, so I'm happy about that.”
Patterson said he lost consciousness during his seizure and woke up in the ambulance. In the initial aftermath of the seizure, he wondered whether he would be able to play again. Patterson, 28, has played in 95 games, more than anybody on the Eagles roster.
“It's not like this is something everybody deals with all the time,” he said. “We had to take time, learn about it and find out details. We were able to get it kind of focused and able to calm me down, and be able to go out there and play again.”
Burkholder said Patterson is on medication to control the seizures. Playing football doesn't pose any additional risk.
“He's been told by all physicians that it's OK to wait until the end of the season (for treatment),” Burkholder said. “We're comfortable, he's comfortable.
“Anytime someone has anything, we're concerned that they'd have a reoccurrence, but we think that those numbers are very small. We've done our homework and dealt with a seizure specialist to know that the amount of time that he sat out right now without having another seizure decreases his chances of having another seizure.”
Maclin, 23, said he has “no doubt” he'll be ready for the Eagles' opener at St. Louis. His doctors tested him for several serious conditions, including HIV and several forms of cancer, before clearing him.
“It was tough, especially when it could've been as serious as they said it could've been,” he said. “No matter what you're doing, it's always in the back of your mind. It was good to clear those thoughts.
“It's a big relief. It was definitely a long process, but luckily everything came out negative.”
Maclin caught 70 passes for 964 yards and 10 touchdowns last year in his second season.
“I missed this place,” Maclin said at his locker. “I'm just happy to be back and be with my teammates.”