Alshon Jeffery’s return to football will have to wait at least one more week.
Head coach Doug Pederson said Jeffery, who after a 9 1/2-month layoff returned to practice Thursday on a limited basis, won’t be ready to play on Sunday, when the Eagles face the Bengals at the Linc.
Jeffery hasn’t played in nearly 10 months, since suffering a Lisfranc foot sprain in the Eagles’ game against the Giants last Dec. 9 and undergoing surgery.
“It was great to get Alshon on the practice field in some individual (drills), the routes on air period that we were able to throw with him,” Pederson said Friday. “Just beginning to incorporate him back into a full practice schedule.”
But Sunday is just too soon.
“This week, no,” he said. “It’s too soon this week because he hasn’t taken the practice reps needed. … I’m optimistic going forward in the next couple weeks possibly, but again it just depends on how he does.”
Pederson said he was curious to see how Jeffery looked at practice on Friday afternoon following his first real team action since last December.
“You put a guy that’s had an injury out there, you want to test it, you want to see where he’s at,” he said. “But it’s all about today, it’s the day after, 24 hours, how he recovers and being able to do some more with him.”
With rookie first-round pick Jalen Reagor out indefinitely with a ligament tear in his thumb and last year’s rookie second-round pick JJ Arcega-Whiteside still without a catch this year, the Eagles could use Jeffery, who had 65 catches for 853 yards in 2018 before an injury-plagued 2019.
The Eagles face the 49ers in Santa Clara a week from Sunday and then the Steelers at Heinz Field the following weekend.
“I’m excited,” Pederson said. “We’ve got a little bit of time, I don’t want to push him, but at the same time it was good to see him get some work in with Carson.”
Jeffery, 30 ranks 14th among active NFL wide receivers with 6,671 career receiving yards and 45 touchdown catches.