James Casey leaves early with a hamstring injury

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Eagles tight end James Casey left Thursday’s 27-20 loss to the New York Jets in the first quarter with a hamstring injury and did not return.

It concluded a disappointing preseason for Casey, a free agent acquisition from the Houston Texans. Casey finished the preseason with two catches for 10 yards, and was not used as the versatile threat envisioned when he signed a three-year, $12 million contract.

"We thought we were going to have him, but he went down early," coach Chip Kelly said. "Thought we were going to get some good reps out of him, but we couldn't."

Casey said this week that he can play better than he appeared in the preseason, and it’s likely coach Chip Kelly has plans that go beyond what he revealed this month.

But Casey must first get healthy. He missed most of the spring with arthroscopic knee surgery, and how has a hamstring injury. The severity is unknown, although Casey was walking without issue after the game and said he's fine.


Trevard Lindley left the game in the third quarter with a sprained ankle, leaving the Eagles with only two cornerbacks: Brandon Boykin and Jordan Poyer. Starters Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher did not play, and Curtis Marsh and Brandon Hughes are out with broken hands.

Boykin and Poyer started the game. Boykin, who is a regular contributor, needed to play because the Eagles lacked healthy options. Safety Kurt Coleman needed to bounce outside to play cornerback.

"It does show Kurt's versatiltiy," Kelly said. "He's the one guy out of the group of safeties that were playing tonight that we felt we could throw out."


Two reserve defensive players who stood out were inside linebacker Emmanuel Acho and outside linebacker Chris McCoy.

Acho, whom the Eagles acquired from the Cleveland Browns for Dion Lewis, had first-half tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble. He’s competing with Casey Matthews and Jake Knott for starting inside linebacker spots. Knott and Matthews started, but Acho rotated into Thursday’s top unit.

Acho finished with 11 tackles, one sack, and one forced fumble. 

"I went through [cut downs] last year, it was very nerve racking," Acho said. "This year, you just got to have faith."

McCoy is a former Canadian Football League player who is competing with Everette Brown and Travis Long for the fourth outside linebacker spot. He was a disruptive force around the edge, recording two first-half sacks and a forced fumble.

"I did everything I could do," McCoy said. "Just sit back and see what happens."


The Eagles reached an injury settlement with cornerback Eddie Whitley, who had reverted to injured reserve after the team waived him injured last Sunday. Whitley, who spent part of last season with the Eagles practice squad, injured his knee in last week’s preseason game.

Whitley had a chance to make the Eagles roster before the injury. He’s now free to sign with any team.

 Contact Zach Berman at zberman@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @ZBerm.