The Eagles strapped on the pads and held their first full-squad practice Friday morning. But, some notable players weren’t hitting their teammates but rather hitting the trainer’s table.
Why is it important to get into the full swing of things?
“You want to see the young guys. The guys that you haven’t seen hit, you want to see those guys and see how they play and see how they hold up under the contact. We save the contact right -- at least the full live period until right at the end. And so, you’ve got to have the endurance to get through the practice and then finish strong with the contact part of it,” said Head Coach Andy Reid.
But not every one of Reid’s Birds was ready to go.
Spending practice working out with Birds trainer Rick Burkholder, rather than hitting, was a group of vets including prized left tackle Jason Peters (quad), cornerback Asante Samuel (hamstring spasms) and defensive tackle Trevor Laws (sore hamstring), according to the Bleeding Green Nation.
Other players who didn’t practice were Victor “Macho” Harris (ankle), right tackle Shawn Andrews (back), running back Brian Westbrook (ankle) and defensive end Victor Abiamiri (strained pectoral muscle), said Philly.com's Bird's Eye View.
The seriousness of the injuries remained to be seen.
In partnership with NBC Sports Philadelphia
Fans and reporters waited nearly 90 minutes for full contact practice to start, said Delaware Online’s Geoff Mosher.
But despite a lack of hitting one Eagle came up lame.
The injury was a thigh bruise and Curtis was “feeling pretty good,” said Reid.
But the wait for the hitting wasn’t worth the wait as the Birds offense kept it pretty simple mostly running the ball, said Mosher.
The only big highlight play of the morning session came when third-string back Eldra Buckley ripped off a 40-yard run, he said.
The big defense play of the day came when linebacker Chris Gocong accidentally flattened safety Quintin Mikell, said NBC Philadelphia sports team. And, don’t worry -- neither player was hurt.
But one of the most memorable moments happened in the waning minutes of practice.
Donovan McNabb took a knee next to Westbrook on the sideline and watched the end of practice while enthusiastic fans shouted praise from just a few yards away, reported the AP.
"Hey Donny, this is our year,'' one man yelled. "We gotta win it all, baby! You hear me?''
Let’s hope he's right.
The Eagles also paid another tribute to long-time defensive mastermind Jim Johnson who died Tuesday after a battle against cancer.
The team announced that both practices next Friday were canceled so that players and coaches could pay tribute to Johnson at a memorial service to be held in Philly at Lincoln Financial Field.