Patterson, who felt he was healthy enough to practice in July, has been working out on his own, and has been around the team continuously since camp began. It's unclear how long it might take for him to get in game shape, but the Eagles have 3 weeks to decide whether to place him on the 53-man roster. If they decline to do that, Patterson will go on injured reserve and miss the season.
A few weeks ago it might have seemed there was no open spot for Patterson, 29, the team's first-round draft pick in 2005, who only missed four starts from the time he joined the regular lineup in 2006 through last season. But the Birds' defensive tackles didn't perform all that well in losses to the Steelers and Lions; Derek Landri, struggling with a knee problem, has been much less effective than expected, and bulwark Cullen Jenkins, who turns 32 in January, has no sacks and is generating little pressure. Landri originally was signed because of Patterson's seizure.
Patterson has played more Eagles games (110) than anyone else on the roster. He is unlikely to provide a huge pass rush push - he has just 15.5 career sacks - but he certainly could provide bulk, muscle and leadership to a d-line that has looked shaky against the run the last 2 weeks.
When the Eagles announced Patterson hadn't been cleared for training camp, head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder explained why it was hard to say when the former USC star would be ready: "In the history of the National Football League, not a lot of players have had craniotomies, have had a piece of their skull taken off and put back on. We thought he would be ready, because today's 6 months since the surgery. He's not. That's just what happens with healing. Everybody heals differently. We anticipate he'll heal up fully and be back playing again. It's just not today."
By the way, a recent Sports Illustrated story on the disappointing NFL careers of USC stars from Patterson's era - Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, and Dwayne Jarrett, among others - said Patterson's career had been ended prematurely by injury, something that presumably came as news to Patterson.
"I don't feel any effects. Everything feels really healed. It's just a head injury," Patterson said in late August. "In the NFL, they're a little cautious."
Patterson confirmed in September that he had taken a pay cut requested by management, from $2.1 million this season to $1.05 million.
Meanwhile, the Eagles have another player, All-Pro offensive tackle Jason Peters, also languishing on the nonfootball injury list. There are no indications Peters will practice Monday, which would be a much bigger deal, given his profile and the struggles of the Eagles' offensive line in his absence.
Monday starts Week 8 of the NFL calendar, so Peters has until the end of next week to begin practicing, then the team would have 3 weeks after that to decide whether to add him to the roster. When Peters tore his right Achilles' for the second time in 2 months, after falling off a cart he was using during rehab, back in May, it seemed impossible that he would play at all this season; it wasn't clear he would be able to play again at all.
But Peters is walking without a limp. On Oct. 4, he told the Daily News: "I'm running, doing everything." Asked if he expected to play this season, Peters said "yes." A team source confirmed that the Eagles now expect Peters to play this season, probably not soon, but at some point.
Monday's workout will be a brief practice, and Eagles coach Andy Reid is not expected to address reporters. Reid's bye-week review spared the jobs of play-caller Marty Mornhinweg and starting quarterback Michael Vick, an Eagles source has said . . . Tickets are available for the 14th annual Otho Davis Scholarship Foundation dinner Tuesday night at 5:30 at the Society Hill Sheraton. Among the honorees this year will be ESPN analyst and former Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski. The foundation honors the late Eagles head athletic trainer, providing scholarships for students majoring in sports medicine, sports marketing, or a related field. Tickets can be obtained by calling 877-500-1129 or logging onto www.OthoDavisFoundation.org.
Contact Les Bowen at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @LesBowen. For more Eagles coverage and opinion, read the Daily News' blog at eagletarian.com.