Eagles center Dallas Reynolds ready for new role

Hoping it'll be a snap: Dallas Reynolds spent three years on the practice squad before making the Eagles roster this year. Now he's calling line signals in front of Michael Vick.
Hoping it'll be a snap: Dallas Reynolds spent three years on the practice squad before making the Eagles roster this year. Now he's calling line signals in front of Michael Vick. (YONG KIM / Staff)
Posted: September 18, 2012

Before the Eagles' 24-23 win over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, it was unlikely that many sports fans outside Provo, Utah, knew much about Dallas Reynolds.

But things can change suddenly in the NFL.

And that is why Monday at the NovaCare Complex, Reynolds was surrounded by reporters who were wondering how he is handling his role as the new starting center for the Eagles.

Reynolds, who spent the maximum three years on the NFL practice squad before making the Eagles 53-man roster this year, was inserted into Sunday's game early in the third quarter when Jason Kelce went down with a knee injury.

On Monday, the Eagles disclosed that Kelce has a partial tear of the anterior cruciate ligament and a complete tear of the medial collateral ligament in his right knee. The Eagles are not sure what course of action will be taken, saying Kelce could be out anywhere from four to six weeks to the rest of the season.

For Reynolds, it was his first NFL action at center. He was originally signed as a rookie free agent by the Eagles in 2009.

In the Eagles' opening 17-16 win over the Cleveland Browns, Reynolds made his NFL debut by appearing on nine special-team snaps.

During the win over Baltimore, Reynolds participated in 37 snaps at center and another eight on special teams.

NFL rules prohibit a player from being on the practice squad for more than three years, so what made the Eagles keep him there so long and then promote him to the active roster?

"The simple answer is that he went to BYU," quipped Eagles coach Andy Reid, a noted former BYU offensive lineman.

Then Reid, speaking at his Monday news conference at the NovaCare Complex, turned serious, suggesting that Reynolds' roster spot was earned through hard work.

"He got stronger, and that is what he needed to do, and he lived in that weight room and got himself where he needed to compete at this level," Reid said. "He was able to pick up the offense well."

When Reynolds entered the game, he wasn't eased into action. Reid said that the 6-foot-4, 320-pound Reynolds made all the line calls.

Reynolds said there were typical butterflies when he first went in, but he had no other choice but to adapt quickly.

"It wasn't as tough as I thought it was going to be," Reynolds said. "You didn't really have much time to think of anything, just going in and start snapping."

Reynolds said he wasn't happy to get the playing time under the circumstances but understands that injuries are part of the game.

"I was looking forward to this moment for a long time," he said. "After a few years on the practice squad, to be active and have a chance to play and start, I am excited for the opportunity."

Reynolds, 28, is one of four BYU offensive linemen in his family. His father, Lance, is BYU's assistant head coach and tight ends coach.

Matt Reynolds, 26, is on the Eagles practice squad. Oldest brother Lance Jr. was a starting center for BYU who signed a free-agent contract with the Seattle Seahawks in 2006. The youngest brother, Houston, is a junior at BYU.

Naturally, the conversation at the Reynolds household often drifted to offensive line play.

"We used to play Saturday at BYU and have a good family dinner on Sunday and watch some tape," said Dallas Reynolds, who was named first-team all-Mountain West twice at Brigham Young, once as a left tackle and the other time as a center.

Lance Reynolds said the family got to watch his son on Sunday, and from a parental and coaching standpoint he couldn't have been more pleased.

"We were watching and we were all juiced up to see him play so well," Lance said Monday evening from BYU in a phone interview. "It was exciting beyond words."

Lance viewed his son's debut at center with a coach's eye.

"He looked at home and under control and like he belonged," Lance said.

The two talked afterward.

"He is always cautiously optimistic, but also was telling all the things he is looking to improve on," his father said.

The family will watch Dallas Reynolds play again on Sunday. His is a true story of perseverance, representing a family that knows its way around the trenches.

Contact Marc Narducci at 856-779-3225, mnarducci@phillynews.com. Follow @sjnard on Twitter.


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