Eagles Notebook: Arrelious Benn the third Eagle to tear his ACL

DAVID MAIALETTI / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Patriots coach Bill Belichick (left) and Eagles coach Chip Kelly watch their teams practice yesterday.
DAVID MAIALETTI / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Patriots coach Bill Belichick (left) and Eagles coach Chip Kelly watch their teams practice yesterday.
Posted: August 08, 2013

AFTER A SOLID practice showing Sunday, the first time he'd made it through an entire practice as an Eagle, someone asked wide receiver Arrelious Benn what he thought he needed to show to make the team.

"Stay healthy," Benn replied. "I prove to them I can stay healthy, I'll be all right."

So much for that. The former Tampa second-round pick, who arrived with a lengthy injury history, is out for the season after tearing his left ACL in a special- teams drill yesterday, the Eagles said. He'd suffered a minor knee injury in the first full-squad practice, returned Sunday, practiced then and Monday, before becoming the third Eagle to tear an ACL in this training camp. Wideout Jeremy Maclin and linebacker Jason Phillips were the others.

The Eagles pretty much have to go out and find a wide receiver somewhere now, though they clearly aren't overwhelmed by what's on the market; they've been working with 89 players on a 90-man roster, despite missing Riley Cooper from Friday until yesterday as he sought sensitivity counseling for using a racial slur.

The team released 29-year-old wideout Dave Ball yesterday. He'd been sidelined with leg and hand injuries. Damaris Johnson suffered a hamstring pull. So Cooper is back, but when Benn goes on injured reserve, the Eagles will have three open roster spots and eight healthy wide receivers.

It was hard to know what to expect from Benn, given that Tampa gave up on him after he ended last season on IR with knee and shoulder problems. But Chip Kelly spoke enthusiastically about Benn Sunday; at 6-2, 220, Benn was the kind of bigger target the Eagles could have used.

"Right now, with his size, his ability to play special teams, he can bring a lot to the table," Kelly said then.

The Eagles sent a 2013 sixth-round pick and a conditional 2014 pick to the Bucs for Benn and the seventh-round pick they used to draft cornerback Jordan Poyer.

Patriot day

The first of three joint practices yesterday between the Eagles and the Patriots was easily the most fascinating day of training camp so far.

Bill Belichick. Tom Brady. No music, no jousting with trash cans; quite a bit of actual football.

Belichick held a news conference beforehand, stepping to the podium just after a Patriots staffer carefully removed an Eagles.com flag from the microphone.

Under Andy Reid, the Eagles never went in for this kind of thing, but Belichick does it a lot, to break the monotony of training camp and give his players new challenges.

"It's good for everybody. It's good for the young guys, it's good for the new guys, it's good for the old coaches," Belichick said.

The teams did not tackle to the ground, but the "thud" tackling was much more spirited than in Eagles-only workouts. In fact, Eagles corner Cary Williams and Pats rookie wideout Aaron Dobson tried to mix it up at the end of one running play. Both players went to the sideline for the rest of the day. Chip Kelly said that was the agreement between the coaches going in.

Brady was methodical and pretty much flawless, particularly in one-on-one drills. He and Danny Amendola (briefly an Eagle long ago) seem already in sync; they hooked up beautifully on an end zone ball over Kenny Phillips.

Michael Vick also showed what he can do, finding Riley Cooper after a scramble in the end zone against Alfonzo Dennard, who later was victimized on a Nick Foles touchdown bomb to Cooper.

The line drill battles were fun to watch, with the Eagles' o-line holding its own against New England defenders, such as when Lane Johnson stood up Rob Ninkovich.

You'd think these sessions would be particularly interesting for Eagles safety Patrick Chung, a Patriot his previous four NFL seasons, but if so, Chung was determined not to let anyone know. Asked about that, Chung hurried through some clich├ęs about New England being just another team coming in, as if the Eagles welcomed opponents in to NovaCare every day.

Chung played for Belichick, obviously, and also is familiar with Kelly, who was offensive coordinator when Chung starred at Oregon. Asked what they bring to the table, Chung said: "They want to win. Two totally different personalities, but they both want to win."

Birdseed

Eagles running back LeSean McCoy (knee) worked on the side with trainers . . . Linebacker Connor Barwin went home before practice because he was feeling ill . . . It was drizzling when the Patriots left NovaCare. New England punter Zoltan Mesko, walking with Tom Brady and Tim Tebow, asked Brady, "Tom, can you make it stop raining?" . . . Running back Felix Jones got a lot of work yesterday and ended the afternoon with a hamstring pull.


On Twitter: @LesBowen

Blog: ph.ly/Eagletarian

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