Brandon Graham felt like a real Eagle again, he said today, after his first practice of 2011.
It was a brief, getting-loose affair designed to reassemble the team after the bye, but for Graham, coming off an ACL repair and microfracture surgery, it was an important milestone. The Birds' 2010 first-round pick injured his knee last Dec. 12, against the Cowboys, the team the Eagles host this week.
Graham almost certainly won't be ready to play this week. He can practice for three weeks under the rules of the physically unable to perform list, before the team has to either make a roster move to bring him aboard or put him on IR, ending his season. Graham is unlikjely to be placed on IR. It will be interesting to see how the roster move shakes out.
"We're just taking it one day at a time," Graham said. "I know they're going to evaluate me during the week. I know that all eyes are on me for right now, so I'm giving them everything I've got."
Defensive end Trent Cole, who had been sidelined with a calf injury, and left tackle Jason Peters (calf) also practiced. The Birds assembled the first-team offensive line as it was before Peters got hurt -- Peters, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Danny Watkins and Todd Herremans, left to right, a player said. Right tackle Winston Justice, who did a solid job against the Redskins in his first action of 2011, was back to being a sub.
Graham probably anticipated the return from the bye more than anyone in the locker room.
"Good morning people!! I'm so happy to be back practicing," Graham tweeted this morning.
“Listen, he’s coming off major surgery, so you want to bring him back in and let him get back into football here, and that normally takes a little bit of time,” coach Andy Reid said before the bye. “You have to be realistic about it and then go from there.”
Meanwhile, running back Ronnie Brown said he had a Detroit jersey number (36) and was in a meeting learning the Lions' offense when he was pulled out and told the trade from the Eagles at last Tuesday's deadline had been revoked. It turned out Jerome Harrison, the back the Birds were trying to reacquire, had a brain tumor discovered when he took his Eagles physical.
"I'll just keep moving along as I was before," Brown said about being back with a team that tried to trade him. "When I'm asked or given an opportunity to contribute, I'm looking forward to that."