The Philadelphia Eagles were without two players for a second straight day at practice, including starter Fletcher Cox. The All-Pro defensive tackle was out with a neck injury again and his status for Sunday remains up in the air.
Special-teams ace Rudy Ford (hamstring) was also a non-participant in the session. The Eagles also listed three players as limited participants on Thursday: LB T.J. Edwards (hamstring), TE Zach Ertz (ankle), CB Darius Slay (calf). It marked the second straight day for Edwards and Ertz, but Slay’s injury is a new one.
Cox, who played 47 defensive snaps (70%) in Week 12, is one of the best players at his position in the entire league. His loss would be devastating for a “top-tier” defense ranked ninth overall in the NFL. The 29-year-old has 5.5 sacks and 29 tackles (eight for loss) in 11 games this season while often drawing double teams from the opposition. It’s unclear how or when Cox was injured.
Ford, of course, has been dealing with the same hamstring issue for three weeks and hasn’t played since Nov. 15. The versatile safety is known for his role as a gunner on special teams, but the recent departure of Will Parks could provide him more snaps on defense when healthy. Ford saw his 2019 season end around this time last year when he hit injured reserve with an abdomen injury.
“I think we’re in a good spot with a lot of our young safeties and seeing some good vet play also,” defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said. “I thought Jalen Mills had an outstanding game in this game, not just coverage-wise, but run game. And I think we’re seeing good signs from that group and I think those guys will pick up that slack really well and put us in a good position.”
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Deontay Burnett Activated from COVID-19 List
The Eagles activated Deontay Burnett from the COVID-19 list on Thursday. The practice-squad receiver was placed there on Nov. 19 after coming in close contact with someone who had tested positive, most likely J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. Burnett, a former standout at USC, reportedly tested negative for the novel coronavirus.
The 6-foot, 186-pounder has bounced up and down between the practice squad and active roster for Philly over the past two seasons. He provided a spark to an ailing receivers group last year down the stretch, including making a spectacular 41-yard catch. Burnett has 15 receptions for 210 yards (23 targets) in stints with the Eagles, San Francisco 49ers, New York Jets.
Jason Kelce Nominated for Sportsmanship Award
Everyone’s favorite “everyman” Jason Kelce has been nominated for the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award. The All-Pro center is one of 32 nominees for the prestigious award, which is presented each year to an NFL player who best demonstrates the qualities of on-field sportsmanship. The latter is defined as “fair play, respect for the game and opponents, and integrity in competition.”
Kelce, who started his 100th consecutive game on Monday, is one of the most revered Eagles players both in the locker room and among the fan base. He has been named first-team All-Pro three times while playing in three Pro Bowls. He made headlines last week after playing through a nasty elbow injury.
“I got so much respect for him as a football player on and off the football field,” head coach Doug Pederson said last week. “He’s somebody that does things right all the time and his game may not be perfect each week, but this guy, he practices, and plays hurt. He gives of himself for his teammates. He’s a great leader, not only in the offensive line room but I think on this football team.”