Eagles coach Nick Sirianni didn’t provide details but he talked to his team Wednesday about injured Bills safety Damar Hamlin.
Hamlin remains in critical condition with signs of improvement, the Bills said Wednesday. He suffered cardiac arrest and collapsed on the field during Monday night’s game against the Bengals.
The Eagles and the rest of the NFL are in shock over Hamlin’s injury. While they presume something so catastrophic won’t happen to them, they know it can — on any play.
The brotherhood of players is understandably rattled. One of their own is fighting for his life in a Cincinnati hospital, his prognosis still unknown. And these NFL players will line up this weekend and play the games.
- “It’s one of those things, you pray for Damar, you pray for the kid and hope that he’s fine,” Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick said.
- “At the end of the day, other players, we still have a job. It’s a way a lot of us provide for our families. It’s about understanding what happened, trying to handle and cope with the situation whichever way you can but understand it’s still a job to go and do come game day.”
Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox provided a thoughtful response to the Hamlin situation.
- “What happened to that young man was very eye-opening to a lot of us, knowing that every game, every practice we play a violent sport,” Cox said.
- “We put our bodies on the line. I don’t think a lot of people really realize that until we get in a situation like what happened to that young man.
- “It’s scary, it’s eye-opening, it’s sad. We’re all praying for him. To everybody in this locker room and everybody around the league, it’s eye-opening.
- “It’s always hard to go out and try to do your job knowing something like that just happened.”
Sirianni is a football guy, through and through. He played in high school and college. He has coached for 19 years, 14 in the NFL. He has seen difficult injuries.
- “The first thing you do when you see that, it’s just shock,” Sirianni said. “You don’t see that very often, so it just shocks you.
- “A lot of emotions and things are going through your mind. My first was as a football coach and as a former football player what was going through my mind.
- “Then my thought process turned into how do I mentor 80 guys through a tough situation like this? Then it turned into, well, my son plays football.
- “There are just a lot of emotions that you have to go through, but to me it is just the support aspect of it.”
The Inquirer reported that Jalen Hurts practiced with the first team on their walk-through Wednesday, perhaps a sign he is trending toward playing Sunday against the Giants.
Hurts has missed two games with a sprained right shoulder. He was listed as a limited participant in practice.
Sirianni offered little detail on Hurts’ health.
- “We’ll still keep that day-by-day,” Sirianni said. “We don’t have to make a decision yet, and we’re going to see how this week goes, and we’ll see how today’s walk-through goes.
- “Then tomorrow we’ll see a little bit more because we’ll be more than a walk-through. We’ll be practicing. So, we’ll get a better idea here within the next couple of days.”
GARDNER-JOHNSON, QUINN AT PRACTICE
Eagles safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson and defensive end Robert Quinn (knee) had their practice windows opened Wednesday, meaning they can return at any time.
Gardner-Johnson suffered a lacerated kidney against Washington on Nov. 14 and has missed seven games. When he was injured, he led the NFL in interceptions with six. He’s tied for the lead with three other players.
His injury was one of several in the secondary. Valuable nickel back Avonte Maddox was injured, returned, and is out again — return unknown. Safety Reed Blankenship was hurt and has returned.
Quinn arrived with some fanfare but his performance hasn’t matched the hype. He has played 70 snaps and has two tackles and two quarterback hits.
Defensive end Josh Sweat, who was carted off the field Sunday, returned to the team Wednesday. He did not practice and has no timetable for a return. Quinn should get more snaps in Sweat’s absence.
WHEN THE GIANTS PLAYED STARTERS
The Giants had a chance to rest their starters in the 2007 regular-season finale with their playoff position locked in.
The circumstances were different than this year’s Eagles-Giants game — the Giants were playing the 15-0 Patriots, who were trying for an undefeated regular season.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin played the starters and lost, 38-35.
Coughlin received a voicemail the day after the loss from the great John Madden, the New York Post reported.
- “I think it’s one of the best things to happen in the NFL in the last 10 years,’’ Madden said on the voicemail, according to the Post. “I believe so firmly in this: That there is only one way to play the game, and it is a regular-season game and you go out and win the darn game.’’
The Giants beat the 18-0 Patriots in the Super Bowl the following month.