Eagles Sign Ex-Army Nuclear Engineer, 5 Players Miss Practice

Brett Toth

Getty Brett Toth, left, was a four-year player at Army and started at offensive tackle there.

The Eagles added another familiar face to the roster on Wednesday, one with a big brain to match his brawn. The team claimed tackle Brett Toth off waivers from the Arizona Cardinals to provide depth for their depleted offensive line.

The 6-foot-6, 204-pounder spent 2019 training camp in Philly before being released at final roster cutdowns. Toth’s story made national headlines, too. President Donald Trump granted Toth a waiver allowing him to postpone his military obligations and chase his NFL dreams.

A second lieutenant in the Army, Toth graduated as a nuclear engineer major in May 2018 and became the first player from West Point to play in the Senior Bowl. The South Carolina native had been projected to be a seventh-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. However, Toth was ineligible to enter the draft due to his required military commitment until he was given clearance from army leadership.

“I was adamant about worrying about my military obligations first as well as what my duty title was,” Toth told the Eagles’ website in 2019. “I told my battalion commander, my company commander that, first and foremost, I was there to complete my duty. That was going to be my first priority.”

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Toth Credited Trump for Supporting Waiver

Toth credited The White House for helping to develop policy to allow military athletes to play professionally upon graduation. According to The Hill, Trump signed a presidential memo “authorizing graduates of service academies to go directly to the pros, consistent with their military service obligation.”

Toth was a four-year player for Army where he racked up some impressive accolades in a run-heavy attack. He was the starting right tackle in 2017 in games against Fordham, Buffalo, Ohio State, Tulane, UTEP, Rice, EMU, Temple, Air Force, Duke, North Texas and Navy. Toth landed on the Outland Trophy Watch List, an award given to the best college football interior lineman in the United States, and was named 2017 Associated Press All-Bowl Team.

5 Eagles Miss Practice on Wednesday

Meanwhile, the Eagles were missing five players at Wednesday’s practice. The biggest name absent was starting safety Rodney McLeod (hamstring) and he was joined by right tackle Lane Johnson (ankle), safety Rudy Ford (hamstring), cornerback Avonte Maddox (ankle), and linebacker TJ Edwards (hamstring).

On the positive side, receivers Alshon Jeffery (foot) and DeSean Jackson (hamstring) both returned to the field in a limited capacity and participated in individual drills. There is cautious optimism they will be ready for Sunday.

“Yes, both guys are getting closer,” head coach Doug Pederson said. “In DeSean’s case, it’s just a matter of just continuing to manage him, make sure he’s more than — we say 100%, but 100% as he enters himself back into practice and gets himself accumulated again.”

Receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside was a full participant, while defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (rest), center Jason Kelce (hip), Marcus Epps (rib), and left guard Nate Herbig were all limited.

Safety Will Parks (hamstring) remains out as he waits to make his Eagles debut after hitting short-term IR. He hasn’t yet been activated to the 21-day practice window.

“He won’t be out there today,” Pederson said prior to practice, “but he’s one that is getting closer and closer each day.”

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