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Bair Prepared To End His Hibernation

Posted Sep 24, 2015

During Training Camp, head coach Chip Kelly proclaimed this year’s roster the deepest one he’s had to work with in his three seasons with the Eagles. That depth will be tested a little bit earlier than most fans would have hoped, as the Eagles enter Sunday’s Week 3 matchup against the Jets dealing with a number of injuries. Two of the Eagles who might be sidelined on Sunday are defensive linemen Cedric Thornton (hand) and Taylor Hart (shoulder) meaning that a role player like Brandon Bair may need to step in and step up.

Originally signed to the Eagles' practice squad in September 2013, Bair worked his way onto the active roster for the 2014 season where, for the first time in his NFL career, he was active on gameday for the entire 16-game schedule. He worked well both as a rotational defensive player and on special teams, using his long arms to block a pair of kicks during the season. He also notched his first career sack against the Giants in October.

But with Hart, a second-year player, ascending on the active roster, Bair was inactive for the Eagles' first two games of the season. Despite knowing that he wouldn’t be suiting up, Bair has been keeping his head down and preparing to play each week.

“The way you have to approach every week is you have to prepare like you’re going to play and whenever your number is called, your number is called,” said Bair. “We’ll find out this weekend.

“It’s more of a mental thing, so you’ve got to make sure that – and I made it a goal of mine this year once I found out I wasn’t dressing – to prepare every week like I was going to play and go from there, and whatever happened, happened. You just have to keep preparing.”

For many players, facing a situation like Bair’s could seem daunting. The Eagles are 0-2 and are in need of turning around their early-season woes, so the prospect of taking the field for the first time on the road in a hostile environment with a lot on the line could weigh on a player’s mind. That’s not the case for Bair, though, due to his familiarity of the Eagles' defense.

“It’s not like I’ve never played before,” Bair said. “I played in every game last year, so whatever happens will happen. I think they feel comfortable with whatever works out, and I think that’s a great position for a coach to be in, knowing that your depth can play. You’d hate to be in the opposite spot. You’ve got to be ready for whatever comes and make the most of it.

“I’ve been in the NFL for five years (two years on practice squad rosters) and I completely understand how it works. You can’t dress everyone you have on your roster, so I knew there was a possibility that I wasn’t going to be playing this year with Taylor Hart performing as well as he is, so we’re just making sure that we keep everybody healthy and go from there.”

Like everyone on the team, Bair is wishing for a speedy recovery for Thornton and Hart, but he’s ready to take the field on Sunday, if need be, and do everything he can to help the team win.

“We’re hoping that guys get healthy, and that’s obviously the number one thing,” said Bair. “The guys that we have, we want them to be healthy so that they can play and help us out. … I’m ready for whatever comes.” 

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