Jordan Hicks will take the field for an Eagles playoff game Sunday, the first time Hicks has done that in his four-season NFL career.
Hicks was not listed on the Eagles’ injury report Friday, for the first time in nearly two months. That’s significant, for a talented middle linebacker who has battled injuries ever since he was a Texas Longhorns standout. Hicks has missed 21 of a possible 64 regular-season games as an Eagle.
“Pretty special, knowing everything I’ve battled through, and this team has battled through, to get to this point. Specifically me, coming off last year, coming off this injury here, it’s going to be very special to be playing this week,” Hicks said Friday.
Hicks missed last year’s Super Bowl run after suffering an Achilles tear in Week 7.
“You watched this team do something last year, do something that had never been done, and do something extremely special. And you just wanted to be a part of it in every way that you possibly could. Obviously, us injured guys couldn’t,” Hicks said. “To have not had that opportunity, and to actually have it now – you never know when this opportunity’s going to come around again. I’ve talked to 10-year guys whose first year being in the playoffs is Year 10 … to have this opportunity is special.”
Eagles left tackle Jason Peters entered the NFL 15 seasons ago. Like Hicks, he missed the Super Bowl run, Peters with a knee injury. Peters has appeared in three playoff games in his career, but will be looking to win one for the first time, Sunday in Chicago.
When Hicks suffered a calf injury Nov. 18 at New Orleans, it ruined his latest attempt to show he could stay healthy, as he looks at possible free agency this coming offseason.
“I’d played every snap up to that point. I was taking a lot of pride in that,” Hicks said. “I felt like I was playing well. To go down was tough. There’s emotions that at some point felt kind of ‘flashbacky,’ of last year, obviously it wasn’t anywhere close to that [serious an injury] … At the end of the day, this team got it done. It’s not about any one person, it’s about this team.”
Hicks said he was given a four-to-six-week timetable, and resolved to be back in four weeks, which he was. He was a part-timer against Houston and Washington, but Hicks seems ready for more work this week, if that’s defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz’s plan. A solid postseason stretch could affect those contract prospects.
“Obviously the focus is on this game … Moment I start focusing on something else, I’m wrong,” said Hicks, who added that “there’s times when [concern for what’s next] tries to trickle in, but I try to block all that out. I owe it to this team to give everything I have to this game Sunday.”
Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and center Jason Kelce were named to the Associated Press All-Pro team Friday, the fourth such honor for Cox and the second for Kelce. They were the only Eagles to make the 28-member group, 14 players chosen from the AFC and 14 from the NFC.
“I’m very fortunate to play on an incredible offensive line for an incredible coach [in Jeff Stoutland],” Kelce said. “To be put in situations that are beneficial for my skillset ... Whenever you see those individual accolades, especially in this game, you’d better be aware of how much everybody else is making you look good.”
Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce, Jason’s brother, joined him on the team.
“It’s kind of crazy, both of us envisioning playing at this level growing up, and everything,” Jason Kelce said. “As we’ve both had success, it’s always fun to think back to playing in the backyard together growing up, fighting with each other.”
Cox also credited his teammates and said he was “very, very happy.”
One player who surprisingly didn’t make it was Eagles tight end Zach Ertz, despite setting the record for most catches by a tight end with 116.