The Iron Man showed up at the NovaCare Complex this morning.
Former Eagles right tackle Jon Runyan worked out for coach Andy Reid, offensive line coach Juan Castillo and general manager Tom Heckert before practice today.
The Eagles confirmed that they had brought Runyan in. According to Reid, the team wanted to see where the long-time Eagles tackle was physically in his rehabiliation.
The reason why? No one quite knows yet, although this could be a clue: starting right tackle Shawn Andrews was not practicing today. He was on the field, but was in shorts as the rest of the offensive line went through drills. Andrews had been bothered by a sore back, but returned recently and said he felt great.
Should the Eagles sign Runyan?
Apparently, he had a setback.
Running back Brian Westbrook did practice, but he was added to the injury list by the team afterward with a knee injury. Westbrook, who had left knee surgery and right ankle surgery during the offseason, had not been listed on the injury report Wednesday.
Adding to the Andrews' intrigue, the Eagles closed their locker room to the media after practice and Reid took a circuitous route off the practice field in order to avoid questioners. Reid walked off with Westbrook.
Heckert had no comment after Runyan's workout.
Runyan, of course, spent nine seasons with the Eagles and never missed a game. He has started 192 straight regular-season games, the longest active streak among offensive linemen, but the Eagles opted not to re-sign him as a free agent this offseason. Runyan underwent microfracture surgery on his right knee shortly after last season and wasn't cleared to return by Dr. James Andrews until last month.
Runyan was recently in Kansas City working out for the Chiefs.
Ben Dogra, the agent for Runyan, said he has not had any contract discussions with the Eagles about his client as of 3 p.m. today. Attempts to reach Runyan have been unsuccessful.
Several players did not know of Runyan's appearance before practice, including backup right tackle Winston Justice.
Afterward Justice talked about the possibility of starting Sunday's season opener.
"I don't know, I'm just a worker here," said Justice, who started all four preseason games at right tackle.
Justice said he's ready if needed.
Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg declined to talk about Andrews' absence as he left the practice field.
Other players were aware of Runyan's workout.
"I just know that they were bringing him in," said Eagles guard Todd Herremans, who is currently recovering from surgery on his left foot. "I don't know anything else."
The Eagles' offensive line has been beseiged by injuries this preseason. New left tackle Jason Peters dealt with an off-and-on thigh strain through most of training camp. New right guard Stacy Andrews was gradually brought fully into the starting fold as he recovered from off-season knee surgery. Herremans, of course, had a stress fracture in his foot and is expected to miss at least two games. And right tackle Shawn Andrews missed all of camp and most of the preseason with a sore back.
Shawn Andrews has been practicing for two weeks and is slated to start Sunday in the season opener at Carolina. But he didn't have the opportunity to test out his back in a preseason game and hasn't played in a game in almost a year.
While it's not known yet whether the Eagles are seriously considering signing the 35-year-old Runyan, they could be gauging Runyan's return just in case something would happen to their starting right tackle.