Eagles kicker Caleb Sturgis was cleared from a concussion and returned to practice Monday, ending one of the more bizarre injury stories in recent NFL history.
Before Thursday night’s game, Sturgis was going through pregame warmups without a helmet. He had just kicked a ball, when an errant Donnie Jones punt soared through the air and plunked him on the top of the head. The veteran kicker sustained his first-ever concussion and missed the game.
Sturgis, 27, said his pregame warmup ritual is going to stay the same, but with one noticeable difference.
“I’m going to start wearing a helmet,” Sturgis said, cracking a subtle smile. “That’s probably smart.”
Sturgis didn’t think the ball hit him with the pointed side down, but said, “It just felt like someone dropped a weight on your head.“
Sturgis and Jones both said they had never heard of this happening before. After the punt hit Sturgis on Thursday, he was flagged by the concussion spotters and checked out. He thinks he would have been fine to kick in the game, but understands the importance of head safety in today’s NFL.
“I’m just glad he’s OK,” Jones said. “I just felt horrible because he missed out on an opportunity to play in a game and he’s in competition for a job. He’s done a great job kicking this whole offseason and training camp, so I really felt bad about knocking him out.”
Of course, now that Sturgis has been cleared, the jokes have been coming. Jones said the two shared a laugh about the incident on Monday morning.
“I’m a kicker, so you always get a few jokes here and there,” Sturgis said. “It added to it a little bit.”
Jokes aside, Sturgis has a very good shot at beating out Parkey for the kicker job. Again on Monday, he out-kicked him. Sturgis nailed all five of his field goal attempts early in practice — from 28, 33, 36, 39 and 42 yards — while Parkey went 4 for 5, missing the 42-yarder wide left.
Sturgis wasn’t the only Eagle to return from a concussion on Monday — rookie safety Blake Countess was also cleared from the protocol and practiced.
Defensive tackle Mike Martin (knee) practiced for the first time since leaving practice early on Aug. 5. Cornerback JaCorey Shepherd (hamstring) also returned. Lane Johnson missed Saturday with a sore back but was on the field Monday.
Carson Wentz (ribs) wasn’t practicing, but was throwing on a side field without a helmet, and is still aiming to play in the final preseason game (see story).
Jordan Matthew (knee) and Aaron Grymes (shoulder) were the only two Eagles not practicing on Monday.