Richard Rodgers just kind of accepted it when the news came down late in the preseason: Injuries are going to happen with 100 percent certainty, so a partially torn medial collateral ligament in his knee was a setback, but not the end. In a very significant way, right now is the beginning for Rodgers in his Eagles career as he prepares to make his regular-season debut after missing nine games with a injury sustained in the preseason game at New England.
Activated from Injured Reserve on Friday (tight end Joshua Perkins was placed on Injured Reserve with a knee injury to create room on the 53-man roster), Rodgers will see time as the Eagles' third tight end as well as on special teams. Signed in the offseason as an unrestricted free agent, Rodgers' first Eagles game is a long, long time coming.
"There's going to be an adjustment period. Obviously, I haven't put the pads on in a while," Rodgers said on Friday at his NovaCare Complex locker. "I'm just excited to come back and get in the pads again."
Rodgers said he wasn't particularly frustrated because "the injury rate is 100 percent, so I guess it was just my time to get hurt." But his absence changed the plans at tight end, because the Eagles had plans for Rodgers as a third tight end who could help with his in-line blocking, as a threat in the passing game – particularly in the red zone – and on special teams.
Now the plan is to make an impact in the final seven games of the regular season and hopefully help the Eagles extend their season into the playoffs.
"I'm just going to try to help out wherever I can," Rodgers said. "We're pretty solid on offense and Zach (Ertz) is having a great year already, so I'm just trying to get to my spots, do what I can to contribute and take some pressure off the other guys."
Rodgers missed only one game in his four-season Packers career, the last one of the 2017 campaign. When you combine that game and the first nine of this season for a player who had been as durable as they come previously, you understand there is going to be rust to knock off.
"It's never good to get hurt, but there's always the possibility of getting hurt in this game," Rodgers said. "I don't look at it as a negative thing. I look at is as an opportunity to come back and prove what I can do."