Corey Clement looks like himself again. If you didn’t know the third-year running back tore up his knee last December, watching practice on Monday against the Ravens, you certainly wouldn’t have been able to tell.
Getting first-team reps for the first time this summer, the 23-year-old running back looked strong, explosive, smooth. Clement looked way less like a guy coming off knee rehab and way more like the guy who carved out a relatively significant offensive role as a rookie in 2017.
He’s not even wearing that bulky brace anymore.
“I’m out here naked,” said a smiling Clement, looking down at his bare right knee. “I’m fine.”
And he’s pretty happy to be done with that brace.
I hate it,” he said with a laugh. “It feels like I got a little guy on my leg.
“Realizing that if my mobility is fine without it, it’s the mental part I gotta get over. I’m like, ‘I don’t need the brace, I don’t need the brace, I don’t need the brace.’ I have had good practice reps without it and that boosts my morale without it to show I can do it.
While Clement is starting to look like himself to the rest of us, he started to feel like himself during the first week of training camp. That’s when he took a rep and somebody bumped into him and his rehabilitated knee. It’s a physical game, Clement said, so it was nice to get that out of the way. In fact, he wanted it to happen to see how he’d react. It was fine.
Now, Clement claims there’s nothing to worry about.
On Monday, Eagles offensive coordinator Mike Groh was asked if Clement is where he needs to be coming off the injury:
Well, he's cleared, but he hasn't played a whole lot. I wouldn't say he's where he needs to be because he just needs to get more time out here. We're trying to accelerate that process here with two weeks to go. Trying to catch him up, if that's fair to say. Physically, he feels really good, and we just want to work him back in as quickly as possible.
The Eagles have brought Clement back in steps, ramping up his workload as the summer has progressed. First individual drills, then 7-on-7s, then 11-on-11s. On Monday, he took 11-on-11 reps with the first team against a foreign defense.
And he’s looked good in all of it.
This week, Clement said, they actually prepared for the Ravens a bit; they are trying to treat this a little bit like a normal game week. And this is a Ravens team that boasted one of the best overall defenses in the league last season, so it’s a good test. Clement passed the test on Day 1.
Clement would like to play in Thursday’s third preseason game, but he isn’t sure if he’ll be given the go-ahead. He probably won’t know until Wednesday.
“I want to play. I want to play football,” Clement said. “Just like B.G. (Brandon Graham) likes playing in preseason, I like playing in preseason. I don’t want to shy away from football. Football’s fun.”
It’s even more fun when you’re back to being yourself.
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