Eagles Notebook: Acho was confident he'd return to the Eagles

Posted: October 24, 2013

EMMANUEL ACHO never gave up his place in Philadelphia, Acho told reporters yesterday; he just packed a suitcase after he got cut at the end of the preseason and was signed to the Giants' practice squad.

Acho "had a feeling that I'd be back eventually," he said, following his first practice on the Eagles' 53-man roster, in the wake of the hamstring injury suffered Sunday by linebacker and special-teams core player Jake Knott.

It's been a strange journey, and this shapes up as an especially strange week for Acho, as the Eagles prepare to play the Giants.

"I was going to be on Philly's defense either way - either on the scout team in New York or on the active roster in Philadelphia," Acho said. There were "a lot of mixed emotions" as he said farewell to roommate Charles James, a cornerback who recently got moved up from the New York practice squad to the active roster and will face linebacker Acho in the special-teams wars Sunday if Acho is active.

"All the [Giants] linebackers, from Sean Paysinger, Mark Herzlich, Jon Beason - they all took me in, so it is going to be weird going against them," Acho said.

Acho made some big plays in the preseason and became a fan favorite, along with undrafted rookie wideout Russell Shepard, who ended up getting cut and signing with Tampa. Veteran linebacker Casey Matthews was not a fan favorite, but survived on experience and versatility, taking the LB-special teams spot many observers thought might belong to Acho.

"I was probably as surprised as anybody else that watched the games, so to speak," Acho said yesterday. He was the leading tackler in the final preseason game, against the Jets, with 11. "You just gotta expect the unexpected . . . I was shocked, but you roll with the punches."

Acho's feeling that he might end up back here had to do with defensive coordinator Bill Davis, and the fact that Davis was the Browns' linebackers coach in 2012, when they drafted Acho in the sixth round out of Texas. Acho missed his rookie season with a knee injury and was traded to the Eagles in April for running back Dion Lewis.

Also returning to the locker room yesterday was practice-squad quarterback G.J. Kinne, an undrafted rookie in training camp from Baylor. Kinne is here because Nick Foles is unlikely to be cleared this week after suffering a concussion Sunday, and Michael Vick is trying to return from a hamstring injury.

"I was kind of helping my dad out; he's a high school coach in Texas," Kinne said yesterday. He said he'd spent the last week and a half at Clemson, where his former Tulsa offensive coordinator, Chad Morris, now runs the Tigers' offense. "Just trying to enjoy not having a job that's responsible, I guess."

Kinne, a friend of fellow Texan Foles, saw the QB go down against Dallas and was concerned, but also realized it probably meant a return to NovaCare for him, with former camp QB Dennis Dixon now on the Bills' roster.

Kinne said he didn't have too much trouble remembering things yesterday.

"Riding a bike," he said. "You just get back on it. It felt good to be back out at practice, for sure."

Running back Chris Polk missed the Dallas game with a shoulder injury that forced the Eagles to move Matthew Tucker onto the active roster and cut corner Jordan Poyer, who was picked up by the Browns. Polk said he was able to do everything in yesterday's noncontact practice and is optimistic about playing Sunday.

"We'll definitely find out [today], in full pads, but it felt good," Polk said.

Polk went undrafted in 2012 despite gaining more than 4,000 yards at Washington, apparently because teams were concerned about his repaired left shoulder. This injury, suffered making a special-teams tackle at Tampa, was to his right shoulder, Polk said.

"I've been playing with shoulder issues since '09," he said. "I'm not really worried about it."

On Twitter: @LesBowen

Blog: ph.ly/Eagletarian

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