The last time Corey Clement was healthy?
“I’m not too sure,” he said. “I’m only worried about right now.”
When you can’t even remember the last time you were healthy, it’s been a long while.
Clement, the third-year running back and 2017 Super Bowl hero, is finally healthy and on Thursday for the first time participated in 7-on-7 drills at Eagles training camp practice.
He even showed flashes of the old Corey Clement when he took a short pass, juked a couple defenders and found his way into the end zone during a red-zone drill.
The Glassboro, New Jersey, native said he expects to be cleared for team drills — the final hurdle — as early as next week.
A big step,” said Clement, the only rookie in Super Bowl history with a 100-yard receiving game. “Realizing that I haven’t been playing for like 10 months so it’s a big step to just get back in the feel of things, catching, running, picking up blitz calls, hearing the quarterback’s cadence. Good time to get back out there on the field, get some of the play calls and get back to the grand scheme of things. Hopefully, by next week, I’ll be back in the whole thing.
Clement tore his ACL last December in the overtime loss in Dallas, but he didn’t look quite right even before that.
But he didn’t want to look back on what happened last year, and that’s understandable. His full focus has been on rehab since December, and that work he’s put in is finally paying off.
He said the trainers told him if things go well in 7-on-7 the next few days, he’ll graduate to full participation.
That’s what they’ve been saying,” he said. “I know what I can do, I know how comfortable I feel right now. They just want to be smart about it. We’ve got a lot of time left so why not be smart and utilize the days we do have. Team reps is really my biggest next step. Today was 7-on-7 and just getting more comfortable, getting my legs back.
It was only practice, but it was sure good to see Clement get in the end zone during the second extended goal-line session of practice.
Little short route, I think Coach did a great job of just scheming it up, getting me back into little flare routes and just making sure I don’t jump too soon, because as football players you want to do everything possible you can,” he said. “Jump out there first play, ‘Let me do a streak route.’ But no, slowly progressing, that’s what I like about it.
Clement returns to a crowded running back field, with newcomers Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders, recently re-signed Darren Sproles, 2018 Eagles rushing leader Josh Adams and third-year pro Wendell Smallwood, along with Boston Scott and Donnel Pumphrey.
But competing for a roster spot is the last thing on his mind.
“My focus is getting back on the field,” he said. “Everybody has their competition within every group, so I’m looking for the best fight possible from anybody.”
One thing Clement said was that this long layoff taught him a new appreciation of football. Clement went from making two of the biggest plays in Super Bowl LII to hobbling through a difficult second year.
Every day I get a chance to even stretch with the team, that means a lot,” he said. “I do so much on the side with rehab, I miss being in the huddle, I miss being part of a scheme. Now I’m really not taking anything for granted because your time is really limited in the league so you’ve really got to make the most of your opportunity.
The rookie running back left late in practice and was checked out in the trainers’ tent for a few minutes before returning to the sideline with his helmet. Practice was almost over at that point and he didn’t take any more reps. Sanders suffered a foot injury but said he's fine.
The third-year wide receiver missed a third straight day with an undisclosed “lower-body” injury.
The veteran linebacker remains out. Doug Pederson said he hasn’t had a setback but Worrilow has missed most of camp so far.
Mills was out watching practice but he remains on the PUP list and isn’t practicing.
He remains out with what looks to be an extended foot or ankle injury.
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