Alshon Jeffery has been back at practice for the last two weeks but hasn’t been cleared to return to game action and will be inactive for the second straight week Sunday in Tampa Bay.
Speaking to a large group of reporters for the first time since before the Super Bowl, there was one question on everyone’s mind.
When will you be back?
“I’m just taking my time with it,” Jeffery said, smiling. “Day by day, man. Each day I’m getting better.”
The Eagles’ best wide receiver and Super Bowl prognosticator played last season with a torn rotator cuff, which means he helped the Eagles win their first Super Bowl in franchise history with a shoulder injury that required surgery after the year was over.
While Jeffery obviously isn’t happy about missing games to start this season, winning a Super Bowl last year is a pretty good trade-off.
“If I had to do it over again,” he said, “I’d do the same thing.”
Earlier Friday, head coach Doug Pederson said Jeffery has looked “good,” but said the wideout still needs to be cleared for contact by the doctors before he’s allowed to play in a game again.
When asked about his return and what he’ll need to do to be cleared, Jeffery simply told reporters he’s not a doctor. When the docs say he’s ready, he’ll play.
Even before Jeffery was removed from the Active/PUP at the start of the regular season, he had been back on the practice fields working on conditioning. A couple weeks ago, Pederson said Jeffery was catching 100 balls per day. Jeffery said he’s catching more than that now as he continues to get closer to a return.
When asked if his strength will be where it was before, Jeffery said, “I guess we’ll see when I come back out there.”
Without Jeffery, the Eagles’ offense clearly isn’t the same. They miss him.
Jeffery didn’t put up eye-popping numbers in his first season with the Eagles, but he was clearly their best receiver and warranted the most attention from opposing defenses. In the first game of this season, against Atlanta, the Eagles clearly missed having their No. 1 target and struggled to get into an offensive rhythm.
When Brent Celek retired via a letter on the Eagles’ website, he mentioned a meeting with Jeffery in the Eagles’ cafeteria when Jeffery, then a newly-acquired free agent, basically told him the Eagles were going to win the Super Bowl. Jeffery remembers that chat and said he just knew they “were going to be a special team.”
So what are Jeffery’s expectations for Year 2 in Philly?
“Sky’s the limit,” Jeffery said. “As I always say, just winning games. Another Super Bowl. That’s my expectation.”
It’ll certainly help to get him back on the field.