With broken ankle healed, Mike Wallace hoping to run again for Eagles in 2018

USA Today Images

With broken ankle healed, Mike Wallace hoping to run again for Eagles in 2018

The final game of the Eagles’ 2018 season is just 25 days away, but veteran Mike Wallace is still optimistic he’ll be able to make a return from injured reserve. 

Wallace, 32, broke his fibula back in Week 2 and has been on IR ever since. 

In the locker room Wednesday, Wallace said his recovery is on schedule and he has been making big improvements every week. He’s still hoping to return this season. 

“I’ve been running. I’m just not as fast as I want to be,” Wallace said. “But that’s expected. I broke my ankle like two months ago.”

Wallace said the injury is a 12-week injury and it has now been 12 weeks. His fibula is completely healed, but now, it’s all about getting back in shape and getting fast. 

Wallace is known as a speed receiver and that’s not quite all the way back yet. 

“I can run,” he said. “I can run pretty fast. I can beat all y’all.”

But can he beat NFL cornerbacks? That’s obviously the level the Eagles would need to get Wallace back to if they’re going to bring him back from the IR. 

Since the Eagles already designated tight end Richard Rodgers to return from IR, they have just one more designation to go. The only two candidates are Wallace and fellow receiver Mack Hollins. Once one of them is cleared to practice, they will have 21 days where they won’t count on the active roster. The player could be activated to the active roster at any time. 

But with 25 days left in the regular season, it’s fair to wonder if Wallace is a little overly optimistic about returning this season. 

The Eagles could certainly use a healthy Wallace. While the Eagles’ offense has been better the last two weeks, the one area where they’ve been lacking all season is big passing plays down the field. They have just five passing plays of 40-plus yards this season. Just nine teams have fewer. 

That just happens to be Wallace’s specialty. Since he entered the NFL in 2009, his 43 catches of 40-plus yards rank second in the league behind DeSean Jackson. 

“That’s the frustrating thing,” he said. “I’ve been doing that for nine years before this year. I have been doing it at a high level for a long time. I know we have guys who can do it but for one reason or another, we just haven’t had those plays. Just knowing myself and my experiences and what I can do in the league, it’s frustrating to not be out there, taking the top off and helping my guys celebrate.”

While Wallace hasn’t been able to play since Week 2, he said he’s been able to still feel like a part of the team. The close-knit locker room — one of the reasons he came to Philadelphia — has been able to keep him upbeat through the first major injury of his career. Before this season, Wallace had played at least 15 games in all nine of his years in the NFL. 

He’s been at some of the Eagles’ games since the injury, but when he’s not, he said he watches in front of his TV like a fan, cheering on his teammates. He’s desperately hoping the Eagles can keep things going long enough for him to return to meaningful games.

“However much you can hope, that’s how much I’m hoping,” he said. 

In those two games he got to suit up early this season, Wallace was targeted three times and didn’t have a single catch. 

Since then, he’s had to watch. And that’s been the hardest part. 

“You see those guys out there having fun, nobody wants to be rehabbing,” Wallace said. “Just to play the game. I’m playing Madden. I don’t want to play Madden, I want to play real football. I want to be out there with my guys and do some of those celebrations with Golden (Tate) and Carson (Wentz) and Alshon (Jeffery) and those guys. I’m excited about it. It’s going to happen. We just have to keep holding it down and they will.”

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

One company offering Super Bowl ticket loans at 30% interest (P.S. -- dont do this)

One company offering Super Bowl ticket loans at 30% interest (P.S. -- dont do this)

It’s “easier than ever” to attend the Super Bowl, according to a Stub Hub press release.

It may also be easier than ever to go into debt doing it.

StubHub this week announced a program that allows fans to finance ticket purchases — including Super Bowl tickets — and pay for them over a period of 3, 6 or 12 months.

All at the bargain-basement price of up to 30 percent interest.

Stub Hub, in conjunction with financial firm Affirm, introduced a program this week that allows consumers to use Stub Hub to purchase tickets and during the check-out process elect to finance the purchase through Affirm. 

Although ticket buyers can use Affirm for most Stub Hub purchase, the company is rolling out this program as a way to encourage fans who can’t afford Super Bowl tickets to buy them at potentially exorbitant interest rates.

According to financial web site The Balance, the average credit card interest rate as of December was 21.26 percent.

“Just in time for the Super Bowl, consumers can purchase event tickets now and pay over time,” reads a joint press release from Affirm and Stub Hub. 

The StubHub-Affirm joint press release makes it sound like paying 30 percent interest is a financially sound idea: “With U.S. credit card debt at an all-time high and many consumers looking to kick off the new year with better financial habits, they’re demanding more transparent financial products that align with their interests.”

According to a CBS News story that examined the Stub Hub program, two lower-level end-zone tickets selling on Stub Hub for $15,760 on a 12-month, 30-percent loan would cost the buyer an additional $2,676 in interest.

The story also said that unlike credit cards, there’s no financial benefit for consumers to pay this sort of loan off early. 

Ted Rossman of creditcards.com appeared on CBS MoneyWatch and warned consumers against using this sort of financial plan to pay for tickets makes no financial sense.

"It is a huge risk to make any type of discretionary purchase with something that carries a rate of 10 percent to 30 percent,” Rossman said on the show, according to the CBS News story. "It's risky to buy it now and think you are going to pay it later."

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

After egregious All-Pro snub, Brandon Brooks named top OL in NFL

After egregious All-Pro snub, Brandon Brooks named top OL in NFL

Earlier this month, Jason Kelce called Brandon Brooks “the best offensive lineman in the NFL.” 

Turns out, ProFootballFocus agrees.

On Thursday, PFF named Brooks the winner of its annual Bruce Matthews Award, given to the best offensive lineman in the NFL. The Eagles were also named the best overall offensive line in the league. 

It’s an honor Brooks deserves after he was egregiously snubbed by voters for the Associated Press All-Pro team earlier this month. It was an absolute joke that Brooks wasn’t even named to the second team. No disrespect to Zack Martin or Marshal Yanda but Brooks was better than both of them this year. 

There’s no doubt that Brooks is the best right guard in the NFL. PFF thinks he’s the best overall OL in the league too. 

Here’s what they said about him:

“Brooks has been a perennially underrated player throughout his NFL career, whether it was playing in Houston or Philadelphia. Aside from a rookie season in which he played just 173 snaps, he has earned overall PFF grades of at least 74.0 every season since. Four of those six seasons before this one saw him top 80.0 overall, but this year he took his game to another level, earning an overall grade of 92.9. For years we have been making the case that he deserves Pro Bowl, and then All-Pro, recognition, and now he deserves to be acknowledged as the best offensive linemen in the game.”

While opinions are split on ProFootballFocus, their evaluations for offensive linemen are incredibly valuable. PFF has been able to give stats to a position that was previously stat-less. No, they don’t necessarily know assignments or the exact designs of plays, but they grade each and every play and that detailed analysis can take some of the human element out of giving these awards. 

When the All-Pro voters made their selections, they picked two guys at right guard in Martin and Yanda who have a longer history of playing at an elite level. PFF doesn’t care about that. They did their game-by-game, play-by-play evaluations and came to the conclusion that no other offensive lineman was better than Brooks this season. 

According to PFF, Brooks gave up just one sack and and 19 pressures on 647 pass snaps. That’s pretty impressive. But it’s even more impressive that Brooks was that dominant eight months after suffering a torn Achilles. 

For the start of next season, Brooks will be coming off a shoulder surgery, but there’s no doubt he should be able to return to his dominant form in 2020. 

The Eagles know what they have in Brooks. They signed the three-time Pro Bowler to a four-year extension during the season that made him the highest-paid guard in the NFL and will keep him in Philadelphia through 2024.

More on the Eagles