It isn't clear how this surgery might be different from what Andrews had last year, or why he apparently developed two herniated disks after rehabbing from the original surgery and returning to the field last spring. Andrews started to have more problems when training camp began, got back to where he thought he was OK, then relapsed just before the regular season started. He has been in California, under Watkins' care, since mid-September, when he was placed on injured reserve, ending his season.
On Jackson, Westbrook
Brian Westbrook worked out yesterday with no immediate ill effects, Andy Reid told a pool reporter. It's unclear whether Westbrook will be able to play again this season, after suffering two concussions.
Reid said there was no change in the situation of wideout DeSean Jackson, who suffered a concussion against the Redskins last Sunday. Jackson again did not practice, but still has not been ruled out for this week's game in Atlanta. It wouldn't be a surprise if Reid officially ruled Jackson out today, when the Eagles must classify injured players as probable, questionable, doubtful or out for Sunday's games.
What about Avant?
Earlier this week, when the Eagles locked up Brent Celek with a 6-year extension, the team touted how it has 22 players on its current roster signed through 2012 and beyond. Apparently, the Winston Justice and Celek deals pretty much used up all the remaining cap money the Birds have available for that sort of thing this season.
One guy they haven't locked up, though, is plucky wideout Jason Avant, last Sunday's hero and a favorite of teammates and coaches. There have been some preliminary talks, but nothing concrete for the fourth-year wideout, in the final season of his rookie deal.
If there is a new collective-bargaining agreement, Avant becomes an unrestricted free agent this offseason, which would be a huge "uh-oh." The Eagles (like much of the league) clearly believe there will be no new agreement this offseason, and unrestricted free agency will go from 4 years served to 6. That would make Avant a restricted free agent for 2010. But given the clutch year he's having, they certainly couldn't tender him at his draft level (fourth round). It's not even clear they could put a second-round tender on him and not risk losing a heart-and-soul guy. (The tender level refers to the draft pick compensation you get if somebody else signs your guy.)
A first-round tender, last offseason, would have meant paying Avant $2.5 million, a second-round tender, $1.8 million.
This might be a tough deal to do, given that DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are going to be ahead of Avant on the pecking order forever. But it probably shapes up as a top offseason priority.
Linebacker Chris Gocong fits into the same free-agency category, by the way, but teams might not be lining up to bid for him.
The last time the Eagles played in Atlanta, the 2005 opener, Jeremiah Trotter got into a pregame warmup shoving match and was ejected. "I'm going to stay in the locker room this time," Trotter vowed . . . Defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley (ankle) returned to practice yesterday and is expected to be able to start this week . . . Special teams coordinator Ted Daisher said Macho Harris would remain the primary kick returner, even though Quintin Demps is recovering from his ankle sprain. "He's not quite 100 percent from a return standpoint," Daisher said. "I don't see the explosion off his foot like I'd like to see it, and he's still got a little ways to go before he can get back there." . . . Falcons' punter Michael Koenen also kicks off, and tends to really rocket the ball. "I think he has the most touchbacks in the NFL," Daisher said. "Being in a dome helps, obviously, because when you see him out in the weather it's not quite as good, but he is a very, very, very dangerous guy."