It's been almost a year since Alshon Jeffery played football, and Doug Pederson warned Friday that even when Jeffery returns — which could be as early as Sunday against the Giants — it's going to take even more time for him to get comfortable.
"I'm hopeful that he can just kind of plug and play, but realistically it's going to take some time," Pederson said. "It's going to take a little bit of time for him to get comfortable in the game, to get up to game speed to kind of get fully integrated to playing football."
There's that old "fully integrated" line again. And two days before the Eagles face Golden Tate's current team.
Anyway, Jeffery hasn't played since Dec. 9, 2019, when he suffered a foot sprain against the Giants. He hasn't finished a game since he had 137 yards against the Dolphins a week earlier.
He was supposed to be back a few weeks ago, and the Eagles kept him on the 53-man roster all year, but just when he was on the verge of returning from the foot in mid-October, he suffered a calf injury at practice that set him back another month.
Jeffery was a full participant at practice on both Wednesday and Thursday this week, and Pederson indicated that he's optimistic Jeffery can make his 2020 debut Sunday.
But how much can the Eagles expect from the one-time Bears Pro Bowler?
"We do have a plan for him and without revealing that plan ... he's a veteran player, he's been one of our starters, and we've got a plan if he's ready to go to get him in the game," Pederson said. "He's obviously a big receiver that can help and he knows the offense and knows what we're doing."
Jeffery missed time early last year with a calf injury, so he's played only eight healthy games since that pass from Nick Foles sailed through his hands and turned into a season-ending interception in New Orleans in 2018.
Things have changed since Jeffery last played. Nelly is gone, Mack Hollins is gone, JJAW barely plays anymore, and the Eagles now have some impressive young receivers.
But Jeffery has the one thing none of the other Eagles receivers have, and that's experience.
Pederson has always favored veterans, and when a guy is making north of $10 million there's going to be organizational pressure to get him on the field.
So it will be interesting to see how the snaps are split up once Jeffery is back on the field. It's hard to imagine Travis Fulgham losing any snaps, and the Eagles certainly don't want to hold Jalen Reagor back.
But for now, that seems like a dilemma that's still a few weeks away.
"It has been a while, and that's why our plan has to ... be smart if he's ready to go," Pederson said. "I don't want to crush Alshon physically and (risk) more injury or whatever, so we have to be smart with that, and I also have to listen to Alshon and how he feels going into this week."
After 11½ months, more waiting.