Simon returns to practice after injury

Posted: August 16, 2001

BETHLEHEM, Pa. — Six days after the scare, Corey Simon's biggest concern was how much preseason game time he would have to sharpen his game for the regular season.

Simon was back on the practice field yesterday, in uniform for the first time since the concussion and neck injury that brought the Eagles' camp to a screeching halt last week. While Simon held himself out of the heavy contact drills, his presence on the field was a statement in itself.

"It was just an opportunity for me to get out there and run around a little bit," Simon said. "You never realize how much you love this game until you're unable to be out there with your teammates."

Simon was hurt on a routine play last Thursday. He said he remembered going through a double team, then colliding with a running back. The next thing he knew, the trainers were by his side, trying to keep his head immobilized.

"They don't tell me how to play football and I don't tell them how to train," Simon said. "That's the attitude I had while I was lying there. Those guys do a phenomenal job every day. We see that all the time."

Simon said he didn't allow himself to worry that the injury might be more serious, or that it might force him to miss a significant amount of playing time.

"I don't think about that," he said. "I just put my faith in God and let Him take care of me."

Coach Andy Reid said the team would let Simon ease back into action at his own speed.

"We'll give him a little more tomorrow and a little more the next day until we have him back in there full-time," Reid said. "He seems like he's doing pretty good. I wasn't going to let him get in there and bang around. That wouldn't necessarily be the right thing to do there."

Simon is unlikely to play in Saturday night's game in Buffalo. The team will have just one more full day of practice, today, before playing. But he said he wants to get some time in game situations.

"You have to get up to game speed," Simon said. "I'll be playing. I don't know about this game, but I'll be playing."

He already has come a long way.

"When I talked to him, he seemed to be pretty good," Reid said. "He knew who I was. That's better than before."

Lively action. The morning practice was especially intense yesterday, with a lot of hitting and a shoving match or two.

"That's what fresh legs will do," middle linebacker Jeremiah Trotter said. "We had a couple of days off."

The Eagles didn't practice Sunday, Monday or Tuesday. Their Monday night game was canceled. The time off didn't just get the players fired up. They had time to get healthy. All 85 players on the roster were on the field, in uniform, for the first time during this camp.

"That's one of the pluses," Reid said. "We extended the contact by a few plays. We had 30-plus plays out here at the end of practice - full, live competition. Before that, you saw another 15 plays of goal-line, short-yardage live periods. That's a bit of whacking."

Left tackle Tra Thomas, who has a strained groin muscle, did not take part in the contact drills, but he was out there.

Among the highlights: Carlos Emmons intercepted a pass that bounced off wide receiver Gari Scott and returned it all the way.

Rookie wide receiver Freddie Mitchell took a big hit but held on to a tough pass over the middle.

James Thrash caught a perfect touchdown pass from Donovan McNabb in the back of the end zone.

Schedule. Today is the last full day at Lehigh University. The Eagles will practice at 8:45 a.m. and 2:45 p.m.

Large crowds are expected because it is the second and final time McNabb will be available to sign autographs. The last time, the line began forming about 4 in the morning.

The Eagles set up a special line for McNabb. Also available will be the other quarterbacks, tight ends, kickers and punters. The autograph session will begin after the first practice, about 10:45.

Tomorrow, the Eagles will have a brief walk-through session, closed to the public, before breaking camp here and traveling to Buffalo. They will resume two-a-days Monday at the NovaCare Complex.

Nice catch. Lt. Gov. Mark Schweiker and his sons were guests on the sideline for the morning practice. When a stray punt veered toward the sideline, Schweiker impressed his boys by catching it with one hand.

Parking update. Comcast-Spectacor announced the procedure for refunds from parking during Monday night's canceled game.

Anyone with a parking stub from one of the Comcast-Spectacor lots - the main Veterans Stadium lot, plus those at the First Union arena complex - can redeem it for free parking for the Aug. 30 preseason game against the New York Jets.

To get a refund, mail the stub and your return address to: Central Parking, Attn: Eagles Refund, 1835 Market St., Suite 540, Philadelphia, Pa. 19103.

Phil Sheridan's e-mail address is psheridan@phillynews.com.

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