Eagles Sign Promising RB, Son of Former Heavyweight Champion

Elijah Holyfield

Getty Former Panthers RB Elijah Holyfield — and son of boxing great Evander — was signed by the Eagles and added to the active roster.

Is Elijah Holyfield the real deal? Only time will tell. But he does have more than a puncher’s chance at contributing right away.

For now, he’s the newest member of the Eagles. Philadelphia added the former Carolina Panthers running back to the 53-man roster on Tuesday as a way to bolster depth at the position.

This marks the first signing of a non-practice squad player in several weeks for the team. He’ll take the roster spot vacated by Daeshon Hall who was sent to IR following a torn ACL.

Holyfield enjoyed a semi-productive preseason after rushing 19 times for 79 yards and one touchdown while catching six passes for 28 yards and a touchdown. However, the 22-year-old didn’t make it past final cuts and ended up on the Panthers practice squad.

Holyfield was undrafted free agent out of Georgia where he rushed 159 times for 1,018 yards and seven touchdowns last season. He ran an unofficial 4.78 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine.

One more thing: Holyfield is the son of Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield, the former four-time heavyweight champion of the world. Yes, he is also the guy who infamously got his ear gnawed on by Mike Tyson. Evander retired in 2014 and remains the only boxer in history to win the undisputed championship in two different weight classes. That speaks to a good pedigree for Elijah.

Holyfield Provides Insurance for Miles Sanders

Elijah Holyfield’s signing seemingly came out of the blue and draws a few red flags. For one, the move appears to be insurance in case Miles Sanders cannot play. The rookie running back sprained his ankle last week and his status remains in question for the Eagles’ wild-card playoff game.

NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that an MRI on Sanders ankle revealed a low-grade low ankle sprain but there is a good chance he plays in Sunday’s game. Inflammation appears to be the only issue the team is slightly worried about and monitoring. Head coach Doug Pederson confirmed that there was “good news” in regard to Sanders’ injured ankle.

“He’s going to be day-to-day,” Pederson said of Sanders. “Should be okay. Got good news on him.”

Jordan Howard Still Banged Up, Not in ‘Game Shape’

The other ailing rusher in the Eagles’ backfield is Jordan Howard. The Pro-Bowl running back hasn’t played in a game since beating the Bears on Nov. 3.

Howard, who has been nursing a shoulder stinger, was active for last week’s season-deciding game but the Eagles chose to insert Boston Scott over him after Miles Sanders went down with an ankle injury.

Scott, of course, rewarded the coaching staff’s trust by racking up 142 all-purpose yards en route to NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. Not too shabby.

It’s what Doug Pederson said about Howard and his availability moving forward that left many people scratching their heads. The coach hinted that Howard’s conditioning was off and he wasn’t yet in “game shape.”

With the status of Sanders in jeopardy, the Eagles might need to rely on Howard in some capacity. Unless they throw Elijah Holyfield right into the mix.

“I would expect that his workload would increase a little bit more this week as he gets more into game shape and game ready,” Pederson said. “We’ll have a plan for Jordan moving forward, and he’s going to have to play coming down the stretch here.”

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