By Michael Donovan
So, Eagles’ defensive end Brandon Graham participated in his first practice yesterday after having been on the Physically Unable to Perform list with a high ankle sprain he suffered last December.
So, Mr. Graham, how did it go?
“When I do start hitting people, I’m going to be so sore,” Graham said after practice. “But you need to work through that soreness like we always do and eventually that soreness will start to become your armor and you continue to keep building on that. So I can feel good about that and be like, ‘Alright, I’m back in it.’”
“Ankle feels pretty good, but now I’m just getting in football shape,” Graham said. “So you have another uphill battle, but we’re always uphill, the season’s uphill, so that’s what I’m trying to do.”
Graham did not want to guarantee playing in Week 1 or in the final two preseason games.
“I don’t know how much he’ll be back in the mix,” D-boss Jim Schwartz said. “There’s steps he’s got to take along the way. This is an important step, getting back onto practice with his teammates. But it is great to have him back.
“We haven’t really missed him. He’s been in all our meetings. He’s been around quite a bit, and obviously he’s a guy that has done a lot for our defense. It’s nice to have him back on the field, but it’s not like we lost him.”
While adding Graham back into the mix may appear like it creates a logjam of talent at the defensive end position, Schwartz doesn’t see it that way.
“Things that have never been said in the NFL: ‘I have too many pass rushers. I have too many good corners,’” Schwartz said. “Those are things that defensive coordinators, defenses in general, value. You need to be built for the long haul. There’s going to be injuries. It was well-documented last year, injuries that we had. Part of filling those was having good depth. You’re not going to find a coach in the world that’s going to complain about that.”
“This week is just like a building block for Week 1 so as I continue to feel better, I’m going to keep going harder,” Graham said. “And I’m just excited because now I can start counting the days down. Now, I’ve got 17 days to get ready.”