The last time Paul Worrilow played football was New Year's Eve 2017, when the Lions closed out the regular season with a win over the Packers at Ford Field in Detroit.
He's spent most of the 19 ½ months since trying to get his right knee healthy enough to play again.
Worrilow tore his ACL during an indoor OTA practice in the Eagles' Bubble in May of 2018, soon after signing with the Eagles.
He missed all of last year, finally returned to practice when training camp began and … got hurt again.
When he thinks back to that Lions-Packers game, he knows that could wind up being the final football game of his life.
No doubt that's in the back of your mind," Worrilow said Monday. "I'd be lying if I said I never thought about that. People always say you don't know when your last game is going to be, and that could be it for me. Hopefully not, but if it is, it is. You never know. That's the cool thing about this sport, man. You've got to take advantage of it and appreciate it while you still can. I have no complaints. Went from no scholarship offers out of high school to trying to make it through my seventh year in the NFL.
After participating in the first two sessions of training camp back in late July, Worrilow's surgically repaired knee swelled up again.
Back on the shelf.
"Just like in OTAs," he said. "Went through a couple practices, swelled up pretty bad where running really wasn't an option."
With a month left before roster cutdown day, Worrilow knew he was running out of options. Running out of time. So the Eagles' trainers tried a different, more aggressive form of treatment.
His knee finally responded.
After missing 14 days, Worrilow returned to practice on a limited basis Saturday, got more work Sunday and on Monday got his first work in team drills this summer.
And no sign of swelling.
I went after it a little harder, because with the season coming up I can't really take my time with it, and it responded way better than it did before," he said. "It was great getting team reps today. At this point that's what I really need. I haven't played football with pads on, team drills, since I was in Detroit. That's a long time, so I definitely feel the sense of urgency to get back out there and really get into the flow of things.
Worrilow, 29, spent four years with the Falcons, starting 44 games, before that 2017 season with the Lions, when he made eight more starts.
Considering the Eagles' linebacker issues - Kamu Grugier-Hall and Nigel Bradham are both out indefinitely - Worrilow knows he has an opportunity here.
The Eagles are scrambling at linebacker and a smart, physical experienced veteran could come in handy.
You definitely see that," he said. "Be lying if I didn't see it as an opportunity, but that's every year. That'll never change. There's always going to be injuries and there's always going to be opportunities for other guys. If that opportunity presents itself and I can go out there and play, I'm going to go for it.
Worrilow wants to play Thursday night against the Jaguars, but it might be too soon.
If he's good through next week, he should be out there the following Thursday night against the Ravens.
I miss it a lot," he said. "You're either competing or you're not. It's hard to simulate that. You can compete in the weight room, in offseason stuff, but it's not the same. It's just not. When you're not going through the practice, you're not dog tired, you're not hurting, there's a piece of you that kind of craves that in a weird way, that camaraderie with the other guys. Putting it all out there every day. You want to be in it with them. You don't want to be nursing a little injury while they're out there grinding. You definitely want to be out there with your guys.
Now he is back out there with his guys. But for how long?
He's trying to be aggressive and make up for lost time without putting too much stress on that knee.
It's a tricky balance.
"Last thing I want is another setback," he said. "But I don't live my life that way. I just push, push, push, push."
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