By Kevin McGuire
The Philadelphia Eagles could be preparing to clear quarterback Mike Vick and running back LeSean McCoy to play, but tight end Brent Celek will be unavailable after being the latest victim of a concussion Sunday afternoon in a win at Tampa Bay. With Celek ruled out of action for Thursday night’s home game against the Cincinnati Bengals, it appears Emil Igwenagu will be called on to help the offense in Celek’s absence.
“We’ll see,” Andy Reid said. “I’ve got Emil [Igwenagu] there who is a fullback/tight end. If we need to get him in there, we’ll get him in there and have him do some things. We’d have to make a move there to do that. He’s familiar with both positions and can help us with both of them.”
The Eagles have been hit hard by concussions to key players on offense this season, with Vick and McCoy having missed a few games due to their concussion battles. The good news for the Eagles is both players could be in the final stages of their recovery and it is possible each could be cleared to play soon. Of course, this could bring about an interesting decision to be made by head coach Andy Reid about his quarterback position.
The head coach has long been one to say Vick is the starting quarterback for the team and it appeared that Vick would return under center as soon as he was deemed ready. Reid has recently announced rookie quarterback Nick Foles will be the starting quarterback for the remainder of the season, though, as the season started to slip away realistically. If Vick truly is ready to play again, at a time when Foles is starting to show improvement on the field and building some sort of momentum, would Reid dare go back to Vick? Is Foles the last pawn Reid has to work with to save his job before potentially being released prior to his final year under contract? This all remains to be seen of course.
McCoy may have a more realistic chance to return to the field as a part of the offense once cleared to play. Despite the flashes Bryce Brown has shown, McCoy is main guy running the football on the team, but with just three games to play and playoff hopes all but dashed, it is unknown just how the Eagles might use McCoy if available.
One other Eagle that has officially been ruled out for Thursday night’s home game against the Bengals is defensive tackle Mike Patterson, who missed last weekend’s game with a case of pneumonia. Patterson was treated at a hospital late last week but head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder says he has since been released and is currently staying away from the team and resting.
“He’s not with the team right now because he is home resting,” Burkholder explained. “We’re trying to get him to recover from the pneumonia that he had and he looks like he’s going to be alright. It’s just that after you have something like that [it’s] tough to get your energy levels back up and make sure you can play and all that kind of stuff.”
Safety Nate Allen (shoulder), fullback Stanley Havilli (ankle), linebacker Mychal Kendricks (shoulder), running back Chris Polk (toe), and center/guard Dallas Reynolds (ankle) all participated in full practices on Tuesday and should be available for Thursday night. Corner back Nnamdi Asomugha (neck, quadriceps), Asomugha took part in a limited practice on Monday but returned for a full practice on Tuesday. Expect each to be listed as probable for the game.
Free safety Kurt Coleman (chest) and wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (groin) were limited in practices on Monday and Tuesday and may be likely to be listed as questionable. Coleman did not play at Tampa Bay and Maclin was injured during a touchdown celebration.
Offensive guard Evan Mathis (ankle) did not practice Tuesday after a limited practice on Monday. He may be listed as questionable but is unlikely to play.
The Eagles will release a formal injury report later on Wednesday. For now, we know two players are out.
Brent Celek, tight end (concussion)
Mike Patterson, defensive tackle (Illness)
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Kevin McGuire covers college football for Examiner.com and is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation. Follow him on Twitter (@KevinOnCFB). His work can be found on Examiner.com.