The Eagles added tight end Josh Perkins and cornerback Cre’Von LeBlanc to the active roster on Saturday and both are making the trip to Miami for the Eagles’ game Sunday against the Dolphins.
Perkins had been on the practice squad, and LeBlanc had been on Injured Reserve.
The Eagles also released defensive tackle Albert Huggins. They already had one open spot on the roster after releasing Jordan Matthews on Monday.
Zach Ertz has been hobbled by a hamstring injury this week, and Dallas Goedert was the only other tight end on the roster. Goedert has 31 catches for 289 yards and a team-high four TD catches this year.
Ertz, who has twice as many yards or catches as anybody else on the roster, didn’t practice on Wednesday and was limited in practice on Friday. The Eagles didn’t practice on Thursday.
Perkins has been on the Eagles’ practice squad all year. He’s played in 17 games in his career, eight with the Falcons in 2016 and nine for the Eagles last year. He has eight career receptions for 109 yards, including a 26-yard touchdown from Matt Ryan against the Panthers in a 33-16 win in Charlotte on Christmas Eve, 2016.
At 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, Perkins can also play some wide receiver. He caught four passes for 57 yards as a wide receiver in a game last year against the Buccaneers. Curiously, Ryan Fitzpatrick was the Buccaneers’ quarterback in that game and starts against the Eagles Sunday for the Dolphins.
Perkins is the 8th player the Eagles have signed to their 53-man roster this year off their practice squad this year, joining Alex Ellis, Bruce Hector, Boston Scott, Alex Singleton, Greg Ward, Craig James and Ryan Lewis.
Other players on the 53-man roster who have spent time on practice squads include Daeshon Hall (Texans), Huggins (Texans), Anthony Rush (Raiders), LeBlanc (Lions), Jake Elliott (Bengals), Nate Sudfeld (Eagles) and Nate Gerry (Eagles).
That means 15 players on the 53-man roster have spent time on a practice squad.
The Eagles last week opened the 21-day window for LeBlanc to practice before deciding whether to activate him or shut him down for the year. He suffered a foot injury during training camp.
“This was a good week for him,” head coach Doug Pederson said Friday. “Not only to activate him, but to get him back in practice, get him moving around, listening to the calls and executing and all that. Yeah, he's progressing. This is a good week for him.”
LeBlanc, 25, injured his foot very early in training camp and was then put on IR. He was eligible to return after eight games, but it has taken a little longer than that. LeBlanc didn’t return to practice until Wednesday but said it went well.
The only difference between a practice and the rehab work he had been doing is there’s more cutting and changing of directions in practice. LeBlanc admitted he probably isn’t completely back in football shape, but that will come.
And the Eagles won’t put him into a huge role anyway.
The Eagles have solidified their secondary after Jalen Mills, Ronald Darby and Avonte Maddox all returned from injury. That trio has been starting for the Eagles. Perhaps LeBlanc will have a role when the Eagles use four cornerbacks in their dime package. He and Maddox offer the Eagles some versatility. As expected, defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz earlier this week was coy about LeBlanc’s role.
The Eagles claimed LeBlanc off waivers last season and he ended up being a really important player down the stretch. He brought some stability to the secondary as the team’s primary nickel corner. He’ll likely be the backup nickel upon his return this year; that was his role all spring, behind Maddox.
This will be a special weekend for LeBlanc. Not only will he make his return from a long rehab process, but he’ll do it in his backyard. LeBlanc grew up in Belle Glade, Florida, about 80 miles from Miami.
The Eagles signed Huggins off the Texans’ practice squad on Oct. 21. He played 44 snaps in four games, including a season-high 15 Sunday against the Seahawks.
With Huggins gone and Malik Jackson and Hassan Ridgeway on IR, the Eagles only have three defensive tackles on the active roster: Fletcher Cox, Tim Jernigan and Anthony Rush.
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