After wasted season, Malik Jackson determined to come back stronger

After wasted season, Malik Jackson determined to come back stronger

There was a lot of excitement when the Eagles signed Malik Jackson last offseason and rightfully so. The Eagles finally found the perfect complement to play next to Fletcher Cox.

He lasted 32 snaps.

Jackson had to watch the rest of the season, all the ups and the downs, as he rehabbed.

It sucked,” Jackson said on Monday. “It was a big eye-opening experience. Nobody ever wants to get injured, but to be on IR, especially for the whole year, for the first time, it was a lot. But I learned a lot, I learned a lot about myself. Ready to come back next year stronger.

Jackson suffered a Lisfranc injury in the season opener and had season-ending surgery shortly after. He didn’t even last a full game into his three-year, $30 million contract.

But the good news is that Jackson, who turns 30 in a few days, fully expects to be ready for the start of the 2020 season. And he's "super motivated" to return to top form.

While he wouldn’t commit to being ready for OTAs, he thinks he’ll be good to go between April and June, which means he should be on the field at the start of training in the summer.

Jackson will spend the next several months splitting time between Philadelphia and his home in California during rehab. He’ll be back in town for several doctor visits.

This trip to IR was a new experience for Jackson, who hadn’t missed a game since his rookie season back in 2012. He had stacked six straight complete seasons before coming to Philadelphia, where it seems like just about no one is safe from injury.

“It does suck, but it’s an eye-opening experience,” Jackson said. “Something you have to go through. You think you’re invincible because you go through every season and then this happens.”

While Jackson was brought in to play next to Cox, the pair didn’t get much on-field time together this year. Cox was rehabbing a foot injury all spring and all summer. Cox didn’t begin practicing with the team until the week before the opener.

So Cox and Jackson have been on the field together for just a few days in practice and part of one game.

“On a personal level, I got to know [Cox] real well,” Jackson said. “Now I just want to go out there and play football with him.”

Jackson said the team did a good job of making him feel included throughout the lost season but he was still away rehabbing a good deal.  

While Jackson was obviously disappointed about his lost season, he tried to make the most of it. He got into art, he spent more time with his family. He even got to celebrate his 4-year-old daughter’s birthday with her in California.

All that helped him get through a season during which he often thought about how good the rotation of him, Cox and Tim Jernigan could have been. It helped him to survive what was probably the toughest professional season of his career.

“I think the first two weeks were the hardest,” Jackson said. “But then you just kind of take a breath and understand it’s OK, it happens and I can come back from it. It’s not career ending. It’s OK.”

For most of the season, Jackson was kind of a forgotten man. But getting him back in 2020 could be a huge boost for the Eagles.

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Carson Wentz suffers head injury in Eagles-Seahawks playoff game

Carson Wentz suffers head injury in Eagles-Seahawks playoff game

Updated: 6:32 p.m.

Carson Wentz's first career playoff game did not last long.

The franchise quarterback has been ruled out with a head injury for the rest of Sunday night's game against the Seahawks.

Wentz was hurt during the first quarter. He spent a brief time in the blue medical tent before walking to the locker room. He lasted just eight snaps. 

This hit from Clowney came on the tail end of a one-yard sack from Bradley McDougald at the 9:41 mark of the first quarter. It was the first play of the second offensive series for the Eagles. Clowney was not penalized (see story). Wentz played four more snaps before exiting the game. 

Veteran backup Josh McCown took over for Wentz.

Wentz has had to watch the last two playoff runs after suffering a torn ACL in 2017 and a stress fracture in his back in 2018. 

McCown, 40, had never played in a playoff game before today. He's the oldest QB ever to make his NFL playoff debut.

Brandon Graham (knee) was also injured in the first half but returned in the second half.

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Eagles will be without Lane Johnson vs. Seahawks

Eagles will be without Lane Johnson vs. Seahawks

The Eagles will be without starting right tackle Lane Johnson on Sunday, sources tell NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Derrick Gunn

There’s a belief that Johnson could be ready if the Eagles make it to the divisional round. 

But this is a big loss for the Eagles heading into their Wild Card Round matchup against the Seahawks. 

This will be Johnson’s fourth consecutive game missed with a high ankle sprain. While the Eagles listed Johnson as questionable, it wasn’t a good sign on Friday when Johnson missed practice after being limited in the first two days of the week. Ultimately, he hasn’t recovered enough to be a good enough option against Jadeveon Clowney and the Seahawks. 

This means the Eagles will be without their star-studded right side of the offensive line. Brandon Brooks (shoulder) was lost for the season last week. 

So Halapoulivaati Vaitai will make his fourth consecutive start at right tackle and second-year OL Matt Pryor will make his first career NFL start in the playoffs. 

The good news is that the Eagles finished their Week 17 game against the Giants with the combination of Big V and Pryor on the right side and those guys seemed to hold up fine. Pryor did well after he was forced into action and now has had an entire week of preparation. 

Vaitai has been a backup during his career in Philadelphia but has started plenty of games for Johnson and Jason Peters. Heck, Vaitai started in Super Bowl LII. But Pryor has played in just 12 career games. Still, center Jason Kelce said this week that he felt comfortable playing next to Pryor and Vaitai. 

Meanwhile, Zach Ertz (ribs, back) is expected to be checked by doctors today. If he gets cleared he’ll play on Sunday. If not, he won’t. 

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