ARLINGTON, Texas -- After not playing in a game for over two months, Ronald Darby worked hard last week during practice. Especially on his conditioning. He worked hard enough that he actually threw up a few times at practice.
It earned him a nickname.
"I call him Willie Beamen," Rodney McLeod said, referencing the movie character. "Because every time he throws up, he seems to do well."
Darby wasn't sure how his return would go. At first, he thought he would be eased back into action slowly, but as he came back to practice as a full participant last week, he began to realize he was getting thrown back into the fire.
Perhaps what was even more impressive was that he played all 63 of the Eagles' defensive snaps.
"I was a little out of shape," said Darby, who hadn't played since dislocating his right ankle in the season opener. "I was on a scooter for like three weeks. I had to try to get my feet up under me."
There were a lot of questions heading into this week about why the Eagles would change up a secondary that was working so well. Why insert Darby and possibly affect chemistry? Darby showed why Sunday night.
After breaking up a few passes in the first quarter, Darby got his first interception as an Eagle in the second on a Dak Prescott pass that was intended for Dez Bryant. It was Darby's first interception since Sept. 27, 2015 — his third NFL game.
On Sunday night, Prescott was eager to find out if Darby would show any rust. He really didn't.
"I've been out two months, so I came into the game knowing I was going to get tested," he said. "It's either show up or get exposed."
Darby's performance Sunday might have been a surprise to the Cowboys and Eagles fans, but it wasn't a surprise to his teammates. Both McLeod and Jalen Mills said they saw this coming based on Darby's week of practice.
McLeod said Darby was breaking up just about every pass during the week at practice.
"His whole week of preparation, the guy was just practicing hard," Mills said. "That's what you want to see from a guy like that."
Darby began the season as the Eagles' starter at left cornerback, but Mills played so well there in his absence, defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz elected to keep Mills there. That meant Darby lined up on the right side Sunday night.
Darby said it was "a little bit different, I ain't going to lie," but still felt pretty comfortable on the right side.
While his ankle is healed, Darby admitted he felt some rust on certain drives, but he thinks it'll come back in time.
How close is he to being back to where he was?
"I can't tell you," he said. "You sit out two months, of course, you're not going to be at the same level as the rest of these boys who have been out there these two months."
At least he's off to a good start.