When Jalen Reagor tore the UCL in his thumb and needed surgery, the hope was that he’d maybe be able to return after the Eagles’ bye week for the team’s Nov. 15 game against the Giants.
Earlier this week, Reagor was cleared to return and is expected to be back on the field for Sunday Night Football against the Cowboys just six weeks after suffering the injury. This is the second time in a few months Reagor has shattered expectations and returned from injury early.
Does he have some Wolverine blood in him? What’s going on?
“It’s all mental,” Reagor said on Friday. “If you want to get back, you’ll get back. If you want to keep nursing the injury, you’re going to keep nursing it. It’s all mental. People don’t really realize that and people try to put a stamp on when I’ll come back but nobody knows my body better than me.”
It’s good news that Reagor has proven himself to be a quick healer — especially on a team that could use more quick healers — but the downside is that early in his NFL career, he’s already suffered two relatively serious injuries. He has played just two games so far.
But the thing with Reagor is that injuries weren’t really a part of his football career before the NFL. He wasn’t hurt much in college or in high school. So let’s keep that “injury-prone” label on the shelf for now.
“It’s just a little bit of adversity. Just a test,” Reagor said. “And I feel like I passed them. I’m not going to let them get me down or get me in a funk. It’s all about how you respond. It’s all about being resilient.”
During the five weeks he missed, Reagor tried to stay as involved as he could. He was in every meeting and at every practice as a spectator. He didn’t use his injury as an excuse and tried to stay as involved as he could because he was “pushing for an early comeback.” He got it.
Through the first two weeks of the season, Reagor showed a lot of promise. He had five catches for 96 yards through two games, including a 55-yard grab in his NFL debut. It looked like he was off to a great start before finding out that he needed surgery.
Despite the emergence of Travis Fulgham and John Hightower and the consistency from Greg Ward, getting Reagor back will add an important element to the Eagles’ offense.
“I wish I had his speed. I can’t lie,” Fulgham said. “He definitely does a lot of things out there on the field that’ll help us win.”
Since the beginning of the season, several other rookie receivers like Justin Jefferson and Chase Claypool have had big performances and have been putting together impressive rookie seasons. While it certainly isn’t Reagor’s fault he got hurt, the success of players the Eagles could have taken in his place hasn’t gone unnoticed by fans who have been hurt by the Eagles’ front office before.
But on Friday, Reagor said he’s patient and he seems confident his big days will come.
He even said the success of other rookie receivers doesn’t serve as motivation.
“Not at all. I want to see everybody succeed,” he said. “I’m just going to continue to stay in my lane and stay focused on me and the Eagles’ organization and then I’m gonna move on from there.”