Brandon Graham is out for the season, but Nick Sirianni brought him to practice anyway.
Graham, 33, tore his Achilles last week against the 49ers and is out for the season. So he wasn’t physically at practice this week, but on Saturday, Sirianni paid tribute to the Eagles’ longest-tenured player by wearing a Brandon Graham shirt and his No. 55 on his visor.
“Obviously we're losing a big part of our team and just want him to know that he's still a big part of this and we still need his leadership, we still need his energy, we still need his personality,” Sirianni said. “We miss him, and he wasn't out there at practice today, so I brought him out there with my hat and my shirt.”
As of Saturday, Graham hadn’t yet had surgery to repair his Achilles but it was coming soon. Eventually, Graham will be back around his teammates in the NovaCare Complex but Sirianni stressed that Graham will have to do whatever is best for his rehab.
But once he’s able to be back around his teammates, everyone wants that.
“The more we can have him around, the better,” Sirianni said.
Putting the numbers of injured players on his visor is a practice Sirianni brought with him from Indianapolis but the idea really began back when Sirianni was in college. He suffered a significant injury that landed him in the hospital. He still remembers his college coach Larry Kehres visiting him in the hospital and his brother, then a coach at William and Jefferson, wearing his No. 25 on his hat.
Those gestures meant a lot too Sirianni.
“I was down though, right? I couldn't be out there with my team,” Sirianni said. “So just that little thing right there really helped me of my brother doing that and Coach Kehres doing that.”
One of Sirianni’s core values — which he preaches relentlessly — is connection. It’s important to him.
“You don't just connect with guys that are playing on Sunday,” he explained earlier this month. “You connect with the guys that have went through everything we have went through until now to get ready. Hopefully I won't have to put any of those numbers on my hat, but you'll know what they mean when I do if I do.”
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