Tim Jernigan has been activated from the Reserve/Non-Football Injury List on Monday and the defensive tackle participated in the Eagles walkthrough practice.
The Eagles have 21 days to add Jernigan to the 53-man roster otherwise he will be out for the remainder of the season. It would seem only a matter of time before Jernigan is placed on the roster, however. Perhaps as soon as Sunday night’s game against the Dallas Cowboys.
“Let’s put back at practice in relative terms today,” said defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. “It was good seeing him in uniform, good seeing him out there … get his clock going a little bit, get him in some individual drills and take it one day at a time with him.”
Schwartz wasn’t ready to say when Jernigan could be healthy enough to contribute in games.
“It’s going to be totally based on where he is,” said the DC. “The first day of training camp, the first day of OTAs, all that is where he is right now but we’re also talking about a veteran player who’s played a lot of football and who has worked extremely hard. He’s coming back from a major injury, but we’ll get him up to speed and his body will tell him and that will guide us.
“He’ll start getting back into the flow of things, but to go in with any expectation that doesn’t do the right thing by him. It’s just one day at a time and see where he is, when he is ready we’ll get him back out there.”
Jernigan may not be the only player the Eagles could potentially get back for the second half of the season. Receiver Mack Hollins is believed to be close to returning after two groin surgeries in the offseason. Tight end Richard Rodgers is also a possibility as is receiver Mike Wallace.
Jernigan played a pivotal role in helping the Eagles win Super Bowl LII, collecting 2.5 sacks, nine tackles for loss, and eight quarterback hits. His presence alone made it difficult for other teams to double-team Fletcher Cox.
“He was a big part of our success last year,” said Schwartz. “He didn’t rush a lot on third down, he had some in there, but he’s a guy who could win one-on-one away from Fletch, he’s stout against the run, but has good enough lateral ability to make the sideline-to-sideline play and get some tackles for losses.”
A return to action would be immense for an Eagles team that has just three defensive tackles on the roster. In addition to Cox, they also have veteran Haloti Ngata, who has already missed three games with a calf injury, and Treyvon Hester, who started the season on the practice squad. The Eagles added Bruce Hector to the practice squad on Monday. Hector has been up and down this season, going from the practice squad to the 53-man roster twice already.
“(Jernigan) is also a guy who brings energy to us on defense, plays tough, plays with some personality, and when we are able to get him back, that’ll be as welcome as his physical talents,” said Schwartz.
The Eagles game in New Orleans against the Saints on Nov. 18 was moved from 1 p.m. to 4:25 p.m. IT will be televised on FOX.