When the Eagles get back to practice on Wednesday, cornerback Cre’Von LeBlanc will join them for the first time this season.
The Eagles on Tuesday afternoon activated LeBlanc’s 21-day practice window, signaling an upcoming return from Injured Reserve.
LeBlanc, 25, hurt his foot early in training camp and has been on IR for the entire season until this point. He’s not on the 53-man roster yet, but the Eagles have an open roster spot that could go to him later in the week.
Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said they’ll need to get LeBlanc back at practice and see where he’s at physically first.
“It’ll be nice to have him back,” Schwartz said. “He was an important member of our defense last year and we certainly have roles that he can fill.”
Presumably, LeBlanc will fill the backup nickel cornerback role behind Avonte Maddox, but Schwartz can find other ways to get him involved. In recent weeks, the Eagles have used two versions of their dime package: one with three safeties and one with four corners.
With Maddox’s flexibility, the Eagles could probably use both of them on the field at the same time in the dime package. Maddox has previously played a safety role and could do it again, giving the Eagles their best group of defensive backs.
Each team gets to bring back two players from IR each season as long as they serve at least eight weeks. LeBlanc is well over that and he’ll be the first returning player for the Eagles this year. Jordan Mailata is also eligible to return, but perhaps the Eagles are holding out hope DeSean Jackson could return in the divisional round of the playoffs.
The Eagles claimed LeBlanc off waivers last Nov. 5 and he eventually helped solidify a decimated secondary for the playoff run. He signed a one-year extension on Sept. 2.
While the Eagles’ secondary is much healthier than it’s been in a long time right now, they’ll certainly welcome back another piece. And Schwartz will find a role for him.
“We’ll take it one day at a time,” Schwartz said. “See what he looks like physically. He’s only been working on the side with trainers. He hasn’t been out with, not only position coaches, but against other players. We need to see what he looks like that way. If he looks good, we’ll get him back into the swing as quick as we can.”
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