Eagles head coach Doug Pederson confirmed on Friday that the Eagles are bringing Jordan Howard back to their practice squad.
Howard has to pass through the whole COVID-19 process but once he does, the Eagles will sign him and they’ll find out if the former Pro Bowler has any tread left on his tires.
“Right now, just obviously got to get him cleared to get him back in the building and put him on practice squad, see where he's at physically, see where he's at mentally,” Pederson said. “I know it didn't work out for him, per se, in Miami, but not going to focus on that as much as how he can come in and learn our system and be familiar with what we're trying to do.”
Saying things didn’t work out for Howard in Miami is an understatement. After signing a two-year, $9.75 million contract with the Dolphins this offseason, Howard carried the ball 28 times and gained 33 yards (1.2) and vultured four touchdowns.
He was released during the week and cleared waivers.
“I wasn’t really paying attention to what Jordan was doing down there,” running backs coach Duce Staley said. “You can go back and just look at what Jordan did here, his body of work here, before the injury, and I remember a helluva player. I do.”
The question is this: Does Howard still have anything left?
Staley is right. Before Howard suffered a stinger last year, he was very productive. He had 119 carries for 525 yards (4.4) and 6 touchdowns. After watching his yards per carry average drop in the previous three seasons, it looked like Howard was back.
But then he missed most of the second half of the season and then went to Miami and averaged 1.2 yards per carry. Remember, this is a guy who had 276 rushing attempts in his first three years. Heavy workloads like that can sometimes come at a price.
“I mean, he's obviously a talented player who has helped us win some games here, and we're excited to get him back,” Pederson said. “It adds depth, adds a little value. A veteran player obviously in that room. We'll see next week and see how he can just continue to help us. But yeah, we're excited to get him back.”
While the Eagles have a checkered past when it comes to bringing back their old players, there’s not really much to lose here. Howard will take up one of 16 practice squad spots and if he doesn’t look good, no harm. It might seem laughable that the Eagles keep bringing back their old players but this isn’t like the Jay Ajayi signing last year because that took up a roster spot.
On the active roster, the Eagles have Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, Corey Clement and Jason Huntley. Sanders is obviously a talented player but he has missed a few games this year. Think of Howard as some possible insurance.
Howard is showing all the signs of a running back that doesn’t have anything left but he just turned 26 earlier this month and the Eagles want to find out for certain.
“And if we go a little further – of course, I don’t make the decision, but if we go a little further and we bring them along, that means we’re planning on adding them,” Staley said. “They can help us. You look at Jordan, of course, being here helps, and having the success he had when he was here helps. Everybody likes Jordan.”
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