The Eagles were back out on the field Monday morning for the second week of OTAs, with two very noticeable absences. Rookie running back Miles Sanders attended practice but sat on the sideline as he continues to nurse a lingering hamstring injury. Meanwhile, veteran safety Malcolm Jenkins has still not reported amid an ongoing contract dispute with the team.
First, let’s delve into Sanders. The second-rounder out of Penn State is projected to be a key cog in the Eagles’ backfield this season, shouldering the bulk of the rushing load with newcomer Jordan Howard. He ran a 4.49 at the NFL Combine, drawing immediate and unfair comparisons to his former teammate Saquon Barkley.
But Sanders hasn’t seen the field since participating in rookie minicamp. Head coach Doug Pederson termed it a “lower body injury” and wants to be “cautious about it.”
“He’ll be here at practice, but I’m going to hold him out today,” Pederson told reporters. “Listen, I just want to be careful with him and we’re not playing for a while. He’s engaged in meetings, he’s at practice watching and a part of that, but I just want to be cautious about it.”
This is the equivalent of keeping your Maserati sports car in the garage when it’s raining. Well, kind of. Assuming the Eagles aren’t hiding a more severe injury, then let Sanders rest up and heal until training camp starts. They are going to need him to contribute right away with Jay Ajayi and Darren Sproles both gone from the fold. For now, Sanders can reap the rewards of making it to the NFL, something he was reveling in when he bought his momma a brand new car after the draft.
No One Worried About Jenkins’ Absence
Malcolm Jenkins wasn’t present at OTAs for the second straight week despite an outpouring of support from his teammates. Jenkins had attended Carson Wentz’s charity softball game Friday night, leading some to think he might show up Monday. Jenkins maintains that he has outperformed his contract and might hold out until the Eagles hand him a new deal. Since OTAs are voluntary for veterans, this isn’t an issue that has reached critical mass. Not yet.
If Jenkins were to skip the team’s mandatory minicamp from June 11-13, then there could be bigger implications. His coach doesn’t intend on that being an issue at all.
“We’re still in that voluntary portion of the offseason and we’re focused on the guys that are here,” Pederson told reporters. “But I fully expect that everybody will be here next week.”
For his part, Jenkins has been relatively quiet on social media, other than this Instagram story showing him working out while Kendrick Lamar’s “King Kunta” blasts in the background.
Back in South Philadelphia, his teammates and coaches have swarmed to his defense.
“It hasn’t been a distraction really for us,” fellow safety Rodney McLeod said. “We understand everyone is an adult, and one guy who you’d never question about being a professional is Malcolm. I know he isn’t here, but I don’t think anybody is worried about whether he’ll be present for us later down the line.”
Added defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz: “I know this, when the chips are down, you’ll be able to count on Malcolm Jenkins.”
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