By Ed Benkin

By Ed Benkin

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The 2014 season ended for DeMeco Ryans in week nine.

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That’s when the versatile linebacker crumbled to the field in Houston after suffering the second torn Achilles tendon of his career. At age 31, some wondered if Ryans would ever be the same player. He is hoping to prove his doubters wrong in 2015.

(Credit: Ed Benkin)

(Credit: Ed Benkin)

Ryans is one of three inside linebackers battling for playing time with the Eagles. While Ryans is focused on the football field, he continues to get back to full strength in the training room. Ryans is happy with his progress as the regular season continues to creep closer.

“I’m doing better every day,” said Ryans. I’m still doing extra stuff coming in early and working with our strength and conditioning staff and also the training staff. It’s progressing and getting better every day.”

One of the biggest hurdles for a player recovering from a major injury is the mental battle of putting the injury behind them. Quarterback Sam Bradford appears to be over his mental hurdle after suffering a knee injury a year ago. Ryans is also at a point where he is thinking about football instead of the injury which ended his 2014 season.

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“I’m not thinking about my Achillies at all,” Ryans said. “I’m thinking about getting it loosened up before I have to go out and do anything. Once I do my pre-work, it’s behind me and I’m ready to go.”

While Ryans has been ready to go at practice, he knows the real test will come on August 16th when the Eagles take the field for their first preseason game.

“It’s always the game,” said Ryans. “I think any time you come back from an injury, you have to get in the game and see where you are. You have to go to the ground, tackle somebody, stand up, and make sure everything is still intact. That’s the last hurdle.”

Ryans is confident he will be at full strength when the regular season gets underway. He is excited to be a part of a defense that he believes will be much improved this season. He also believes the team is well ahead of schedule as far as settling into the playbook.

“We just hit it running,” Ryans said. “It wasn’t just take it one day at a time. Billy (Davis) just threw the entire playbook at us. For veterans and the older guys, we picked up on it fairly quickly. The younger guys had to spend extra time studying on their own, and they did an excellent job.”

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The Eagles will hold another open practice at the Linc on Sunday.