Last December, the Eagles and Giants played a game that will forever be remembered as one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history- The New Miracle at the New Meadowlands. Down 21 points with only 8:17 remaining, the Eagles mounted an epic comeback to tie the game with a 1:16 left on the clock, before DeSean Jackson the finishing touches on the epic by providing the first walkoff punt return in NFL history.
Largely forgotten in the madness of that miraculous comeback was wide receiver Jason Avant, who sprung a key open-field block on the game-winning punt return, violently colliding with long snapper Zac DeOssie at the Giants' 45-yard line. Avant suffered a concussion on that play, and, with the Giants coming into town Sunday, spoke about the experience.
"After it happened, I was very aware of my surroundings," said the six-year veteran. "I knew where I was, I knew who I'd collided with, and I knew that we'd won the game. You do your due diligence and take a look at the statistics you are given about concussions. The trainers made sure to be very clear about the potential long-term risks associated with head injuries.
"I actually think I learned more about them after Brian Westbrook suffered one a few years back than when I had my own concussion last year. Him going down really opened our eyes to the potential severity of the injury. It's a dangerous thing, but every guy is different, everybody's body is different. The NFL is always expanding and improving the way they deal with head injuries. Because of the uncertainty surrounding the injuries, it's important to be cautious."
Despite the injury, Avant was able to play the next week against the Minnesota Vikings. The receiver partially credited that to the fact that a bizarre Tuesday rescheduling of that game meant that he had nine days of rest instead of seven.
"I was already medically cleared to play Sunday, but I can't be totally sure that I would have been able to go," admitted the Michigan-alum. "You don't know how you're going to feel with those kinds of injuries until just before game time. Those two days definitely made the decision a lot easier."
Avant, along with former offensive lineman Max Jean-Gilles, is one of two Eagles over the past few years to have played the week immediately following a game in which they suffered a concussion. But with Eagles fans waiting with bated breath for any insight into whether or not Michael Vick will be able to play this Sunday, Avant advised outsiders to proceed with caution, saying that his "situation is totally different than Mikes" and urging fans not to "project (his own) prognosis onto Vick."