Avant paid a price for big block on return

The Eagles receiver has a concussion. "It doesn't look like it's too bad," Andy Reid says.

Posted: December 21, 2010

Jason Avant sat down in a locker at New Meadowlands Stadium - not his own, Riley Cooper's - and rubbed his head after Sunday's remarkable 38-31 Eagles win. He seemed dazed.

Part of that could be attributed to the stunning rally he had just helped complete against the Giants. Part of it was due to the hit he delivered on the game-winning punt return: a wrecking ball-like block on linebacker Zak DeOssie that wiped out the last defender with any shot at DeSean Jackson.

The hit left Avant with a "slight concussion," coach Andy Reid said Monday. Avant lay on the field as his teammates celebrated wildly in the end zone.

"It doesn't look like it's too bad. He tested out today and did very well," Reid said. Six other Eagles have had concussions this season. Each has missed at least one game, although Reid would not rule Avant out for Sunday's game against the Vikings.

"There are no headaches, none of the stuff that you normally see," Reid said.

Avant still has to pass concussion testing, though.

That he was on the field at all on that play shows Avant's versatility and value to the Eagles.

He began the play as the lone true punt rusher, and was on the left side of the field at the Giants' 17 when the kick went off. He then raced back to the right to deliver his key block at the Giants' 46.

"I was supposed to get last man in pursuit," Avant said after the game.

Said Jackson: "I don't even know who he hit, but he took them like two feet off the ground."

Punt rush? Check. Blocking? Check.

Chipping a lineman to help protect the quarterback? Avant does that, too. Third-down receptions? Check. Lead a weekly Eagles Bible study group? Mark that box as well.

Avant does all those things while teammates such as Jackson and Jeremy Maclin make the highlight-reel plays.

Quietly, Avant's receiving numbers have improved every year. This season he has a career-high 48 catches. He has gained 536 yards, and needs just 52 more to set another career mark.

Where he really shines is on third downs. Avant has 15 third-down catches this season, converting 13 for first downs, including one on Sunday.

His biggest play, though, came on fourth down, on special teams.

The Eagles wanted to set up a return, so Avant was the one punt rusher on the play, there to keep the Giants honest. Then he had to get back for a block.

"I knew I just had to make one block in order to get [Jackson] home," Avant said. "I got a chance to see the guy, and I just threw my body in there."


Contact staff writer Jonathan Tamari at 215-854-5214 or jtamari@phillynews.com.

Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/JonathanTamari.

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