The Eagles held their first regular-season practice Monday in the NovaCare bubble, under drizzly Labor Day skies. Afterward, both defensive end Jason Babin and special teams ace Colt Anderson said they are 100 percent healthy and ready to play Sunday at Cleveland.
Babin's status wasn't a shock; the Eagles have been taking it wasy with the calf strain Babin suffered early in training camp. But for Anderson, nine months removed from ACL surgery, Monday was the first practice with the team. He has been working out on his own all through the preseason. The first inkling Anderson might play came when the team chose to activate him rather than stashing him on the PUP list when time came to cut the roster down to 53 on Friday.
"I told you guys it was day-to-day, and it was, up until the very last minute. We just didn't know what we were going to do," Anderson said. "Talking with the trainer and head coach, we thought this was the best way to go."
Anderson, nominally a safety, said he doesn't feel he needs to see how his knee responds to the practice to be sure he's ready to play. "It's not going to swell," he said. He said the decision on whether he's actually going to play this week will be up to the coaches.
Babin said he "knocked the rust off today" and doesn't feel starting the regular season with no preseason snaps is going to be a problem. (In all the years this situation has come up, there has yet to be a guy to say, "Oh, yeah, that's gonna be tough. I'm probably going to stink Week 1, for sure.")
Eagles coach Andy Reid wanted to make extra sure Babin ewas healed because, Reid said, calf injuries can linger if they don't get completely resolved. "I don't have any long-term worries about the injury nagging at me," Babin said.