He was one of the breakout stars of last year’s training camp but never got a chance to play a meaningful snap.
Not to worry. Joe Ostman is hungrier than ever to prove he belongs on the Eagles’ 53-man roster. Better yet, Ostman confirmed he’s “on track” to return in time for this year’s training camp.
The 24-year-old pass-rushing specialist out of Central Michigan tore his ACL on Aug. 4 during the team’s open practice at Lincoln Financial Field. It was a frustrating setback for a player who had been winning over coaches and wowing fans with his gritty, inspired play. Not to worry, Ostman has been rehabbing like a champion.
“Some things you can’t control and this is one of them, with injuries in football,” Ostman told Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro. “I feel really good about myself. I think I’m on track to be back to where I was, even stronger going into next camp. I’m continuing to work at it — chip away at it and get my knee stronger, my overall body stronger, and work on what I need to work on.”
Ostman said he hurt his knee on a special-teams play last season and knew instantly it was bad. He was engaged with one of his teammates on the freak play and took a wrong step and his knee buckled.
“I knew right away,” Ostman said. “Instantly disappointed.”
Ostman Not Sitting Around Feeling Sorry for Himself
Disappointment aside, the kid who grew up cheering for the Detroit Lions didn’t have time to feel sorry for himself.
Joe Ostman has been hanging out at the Eagles’ practice facility working on his craft. His goal remains the same: to make the 53-man roster, at all costs. He feels pretty good about his chances. More importantly, he’s been putting the time in.
“I’m sticking around this offseason just to make sure I take care of my rehab,” Ostman told Spadaro. “They have all the resources I need, with the training staff and the nutrition and eating healthy. I feel this is the best place for me, so I’m going to stick around for sure.”
Remember, Ostman has been an underdog throughout his career. The total population of his hometown of St. Ignace, Michigan boasts just 1,000 people. He was a two-star recruit coming out of high school who received only one scholarship offer. Despite racking up 26 sacks at Central Michigan, the pass-rusher went undrafted in the 2018 NFL draft. Beating the odds is in his DNA.
“I can’t wait,” Ostman said. “Injuries give you a new perspective, you appreciate when you’re playing and you don’t get hurt for a while but then when it gets taken away from you, you appreciate it that much more and it makes you that much hungrier. In the long run, it could end up being a positive.”
Eagles Coaches Loved Ostman at Training Camp
There had been a prevailing belief that Joe Ostman — an undersized defensive end: 6-foot-2, 259 pounds — might take on the roving “Joker” role for the Eagles’ defense. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz praised his work ethic last summer, mere days before he tore his ACL and was lost for the season.
“He’s slippery. He’s got a little bit of hybrid skills,” Schwartz told reporters last July. “We’re just trying to move him around a little bit and see if we can carve out a role for him.”
Ostman was credited for mimicking stud pass-rushers like Aaron Donald and Khalil Mack the year prior and helping prepare the Eagles during their late-season playoff push. His work on the scout team proved invaluable in getting tackles like Lane Johnson and Jason Peters ready to take on the NFL’s elite.
“He was [Bears LB] Khalil Mack last week,” Doug Pederson said in January 2019. “He’s been [Rams DT] Aaron Donald, and he gives us great looks, and really that’s where it starts. Our guys really, as I said, they do embrace it and they rise up and do a nice job in the game.”
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