Eagles Starter Injured at Practice, Jason Kelce Honors Kobe Bryant

Andre Dillard

Getty Former first-round pick Andre Dillard is returning from a season-ending biceps injury in 2021.

The Eagles returned to the practice field on Sunday after a brief day off. Another player went down.

Starting left tackle Andre Dillard headed to the team’s medical tent early in the morning session with an apparent injury. He was later seen by reporters walking back into the locker room. There was no official word on what was bothering the talented 24-year-old.

Swing tackle Jordan Mailata immediately replaced Dillard at left tackle, but the Eagles have several options at the position if the injury is serious. Rookies Prince Tega-Wanogho and Jack Driscoll have been earning praise this summer from the coaching staff.

Of course, the Eagles could always slide veteran Jason Peters back into his old spot and move Matt Pryor over to right guard. Let’s see what happens. Everything is on the table.

“There’s a lot of pressure and responsibility, naturally, but you can’t really dwell on that,” Dillard told reporters last week. “I’m the guy for the position, I’m going to keep proving that I’m the guy for the spot.”

Meanwhile, starting center Jason Kelce stole the show on Sunday when he trotted out onto the field sporting a Kobe Bryant Lower Merion maroon throwback jersey under his pads. The All-Pro just gets Philadelphia in every nuanced way. Sunday (Aug. 23) would have marked Bryant’s 42nd birthday.

Overall, head coach Doug Pederson revealed he was happy with the state of the team. Injuries are going to happen, mixing up reps between the rookies and veterans has been the hardest aspect of camp to manage.

“I am pleased [with] where the team is at right now,” Pederson told reporters. “But there’s still some things that we have to work on this week in practice coming up in order to be fully prepared for that first week.”

Five Eagles Listed Out with ‘Illness’

The Eagles saw eight new players land on the injury report on Sunday. Dillard’s name wasn’t included on that list but starting right tackle Lane Johnson (lower body) and situational pass rusher Vinny Curry (illness) both were on it.

Four other guys — Corey Clement, John Hightower, Hassan Ridgeway, Anthony Rush — were ruled out with “illness.” That doesn’t necessarily mean those players have COVID-19, although the lab used by the Eagles for virus testing had reportedly been compromised.

Josh Perkins is “out indefinitely” with an upper body injury. His absence could leave the door open for undrafted rookie Noah Togiai to steal a roster spot as the third tight end. Head coach Doug Pederson had raved about him at his morning press conference.

“I think Noah at tight end has done an outstanding job,” Pederson told reporters. “He’s a smart kid. Picked up the offense extremely well. He’s learning the ins and outs of technique.”

Eagles Make Minor Roster Move

Philadelphia activated new receiver Travis Fulgham on Sunday and released offensive tackle Casey Tucker. Fulgham was claimed off waivers a couple days ago, a lanky developmental former sixth-round pick out of Old Dominion.

Tucker, an Arizona State product, spent last year at Eagles training camp before a concussion shut him down. He caused a stir when he started a fight with Shareef Miller last August and was waived three days later.

Speaking of fights, the Ravens are at odds with Earl Thomas and seeking to trade the veteran safety. The Dallas Cowboys are reportedly “very interested” and Thomas has expressed interest in the past to play there. Buckle up.