As the Eagles begin preparations for the second half of the season, they got a major boost.
Defensive tackle Tim Jernigan has been cleared to practice.
Jernigan, who is still on the Non-football Injury list after offseason back surgery, was at the Eagles’ walkthrough on Monday.
Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said the plan is to ease Jernigan back into things. That meant a walkthrough on Monday and hopefully individual drills in the not-too-distant future, before eventually rejoining his teammates in team drills. Schwartz didn't want to set any expectations and said they're taking things "one day at a time."
Jernigan can practice for the next 21 days and the Eagles can put him on the 53-man roster at any point. But after 21 days, the Eagles will have to decide to put him on the roster or shut him down for the season.
Without Jernigan, the Eagles’ defensive line hasn’t been the same. Fletcher Cox has been great, but their next defensive tackles haven’t been. Haloti Ngata has been a starter, but missed time with a calf injury. Destiny Vaeao was waived. Treyvon Hester has been OK as a reserve and Bruce Hector has barely played.
So getting Jernigan back would be huge.
The circumstances around Jernigan’s back injury are a little foggy, but we know he accepted a hugely restructured contract after it to stay with the Eagles. It seemed unclear for a long time whether or not he’d be able to return.
If the Eagles do get Jernigan back, it would be a significant addition.
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