Eagles Notebook: They're walking wounded, but they're walking

YONG KIM / Staff photographer
YONG KIM / Staff photographer
Posted: August 02, 2010

BETHLEHEM - The NASCAR racers up the road at Pocono might have logged fewer miles than the Eagles' injury cart this weekend.

Running back Mike Bell, corner Asante Samuel, and center A.Q. Shipley all were chauffered off the field during yesterday's afternoon practice, following Saturday's panic-inducing trip made with wideout DeSean Jackson in the passenger seat, forearm pressed to his brow in despair.

It wasn't exactly much ado about nothing, but when the cart's tires had time to cool down a little, it seemed that perhaps the season might yet be saved, after all.

Jackson, you probably heard, strained his lower back. That'll keep him away from the risk of worse injury for a while, until we're closer to playing actual games that mean something. Shouldn't have too much of an impact on the Sept. 12 season opener against Green Bay. Ditto the hamstring injuries suffered by Bell, Samuel, and middle linebacker Stewart Bradley, whose affliction was termed hamstring "spasms."

In fact, Eagles president Joe Banner said he was glad the team had gotten through the weekend without catastrophic injury. This was reassuring, because when Banner spoke, all we knew about Bell's injury was that he'd dropped to the ground exclaiming and clutching his left leg while running across the field with a catch. Then Bell had yelled "Bleep me!" as he hauled himself off the ground and onto the cart.

Banner said Bell's anguish was understandable.

"He was playing well and looking forward to a new start here," Banner said.

Later, Bell walked briskly without a limp, his left leg in a pressure stocking, as he headed for his red Chrysler 300.

"I'm all right," said Bell, who did not want to stop to discuss the injury with reporters.

As for Samuel, he was walking fine and smiling after practice, also rocking the left leg pressure wrap. Asked to assess the injury, he said: "I'm not a mad scientist . . . I might be out there tomorrow."

Bell was the only restricted free agent in the NFL to get an offer sheet from another team this year, signing with the Eagles after winning the Super Bowl with the Saints. He previously played for Denver.

Looks like the receiving corps might have to work a while without Jackson, the team's biggest star.

"You just gotta bull up. That's what [wide receivers coach David] Culley says. When one of us goes down, we gotta bull up," said Jeremy Maclin. "Right now, we're short, so we gotta bull up today. A lot of reps to go around, so guys gotta step up and take care of business."

The Reappearing RB

Martell Mallett never actually went on waivers, it turns out. The Eagles said they waived him when they acquired J.J. Arrington from Denver Friday night, but the waiver period didn't start until 4 p.m. yesterday, and by then the Birds had yanked him back.

Why?

"We just changed our minds on what we wanted from the running back position," Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said.

Translation: Somebody had to go when Arrington came in. Mallett, last year's Canadian Football League rookie of the year, has a pretty similar skill set to Arrington. Dwayne Wright, the guy the Eagles eventually did cut yesterday to bring back Mallett, is a fullback who can slide over to running back. The Birds have fewer of those right now. So they thought they wanted to keep Wright. Then they evaluated his first few practices, which were plagued with wrong-place, wrong-time mistakes. Hmm. This isn't gonna work. Uh, somebody call Mallett back.

The Reappearing LB

Martell Mallett didn't get back to Lehigh in time to practice yesterday, so we couldn't ask him how surprised he is to be an Eagle again.

Tracy White is pretty darned surprised, though.

"Real surprised. This is the last team in the world I thought would pick me up," White said.

White, claimed off waivers from Green Bay in 2008, was allowed to become a free agent when his contract expired following the 2009 season, and though he'd been a special teams standout, White, 29, wasn't shocked.

"I figured they wanted to go young," he said. "I didn't let it bother me, even though I wanted to come back real bad. This defensive system is real fun to play in . . . I'm excited to even go to the meetings."

Houston, Tennessee and Detroit showed interest, but White was waiting and working out at home in Charleston, S.C., when camps opened.

"I just sat around and worked out for 5, 6 months," he said.

Though he has played mostly on special teams, with 94 NFL games under his belt White becomes the Eagles' most experienced linebacker.

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