Sidney Jones knows a lot of Eagles fans have already given up on him.
He also knows the only way he can prove them wrong is by getting on the field, staying healthy and playing cornerback at a high level.
“It is what it is, I can’t do anything about anybody else’s opinion,” he said Friday. “I block it out. I’ve got to get on with my life and get back healthy and get back on the field.”
It looks like getting back on the field will happen Sunday.
Jones, chatting with reporters for the first time since his latest hamstring injury in Green Bay a couple weeks ago, said this injury wasn’t as serious as the one he suffered last year and aggravated a couple times.
He said he practiced without pain during the week and expects to start against the Vikings opposite Rasul Douglas on Sunday in Minneapolis.
“It’s frustrating, but it’s a new year,” he said. “It wasn’t as severe as last year. It is what it is. I’m healthy now and (ready) to step on the field.”
Stepping on the field hasn’t been a problem. Staying on it has.
Head coach Doug Pederson spoke earlier Friday about how Jones has to “push past that barrier” and play when he’s healthy, even if he’s still experiencing some pain or discomfort from the injury.
Jones is only 23 and he’s still trying to figure all this out.
It’s been a battle with my body,” he said. “I’m not going to say it’s easy, but you can’t just sit here and dwell on it. That’s how you go in the dump. You take it for what it is and jump that hurdle he talked about and play every snap and come back harder every time.
Jones got here with such high expectations.
Even with his pro day Achilles injury that cost him virtually all his rookie season, the Eagles felt like they got a long-term elite starting corner when they took Jones in the second round.
But he’s played only 13 games the last two years, he’s never gone more than five games without getting hurt, and he’s started and finished only nine games.
“Obviously, it’s disappointing after being out for so long, so many snaps and so many games, to not play, but you just take it for what it is,” he said. “I’m healthy now, so I’m good to go, I’m back out there, and that’s all I can ask for. I’m very excited.”
Jones knows the Eagles need him on the field. Especially with the cornerback position ravaged by injuries.
They've used 12 different starting cornerback combinations in 23 games since last year began.
“It’s definitely a goal, sure,” he said. “That’s my first-and-foremost goal of this season, and it was disappointing that (injury) happened, but that’s No. 1 in importance for me — getting back on the field and staying on the field. I need to be available and be able to play every week.”
Jones said he tested himself during the week and really opened up and ran full-out without any discomfort.
The Eagles got a win Sunday with Craig James starting opposite Douglas.
But this isn’t the Jets.
This is an offense with Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs and a veteran quarterback who ranges from functional to dangerous.
Sunday in Minnesota, with Cre’Von LeBlanc, Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills and Avonte Maddox all out with injuries, the Eagles will be depending on someone who has missed more games than he’s played so far in his career.
“I’d definitely like to stabilize (the cornerback position),” he said. “Sul has been great, James did a very good job in there, Orlando (Scandrick) stepped in well. But I’d like to be in there and I’m going to be in there.”
If the Eagles are going to get where they want to be, he has to stay healthy and stay on the field and become the Sidney Jones the Eagles thought they were getting when they made him the 43rd player taken in the draft 2 ½ years ago.
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