Scanning the field on the first day of the rookies and selected veterans Organized Team Activities, no sight was more welcome than that of tight end Cornelius Ingram fully participating in drills for the first time since last summer's training camp.
Ingram, who tore his left ACL during that training camp - nearly a year after suffering the same injury at the University of Florida - was a partial participant during this year's post-draft mini-camp, working only in the individual drills with the tight end group.
So when Ingram caught a Joey Elliott pass in the front right corner of the end zone during an offensive install session, it was one of the more encouraging moments of the off-season. Ingram made several plays on the day, often working the middle of the field in seven-on-seven drills, and looks to be getting closer to the "100 percent" designation.
"I feel pretty good," Ingram said after practice. "It's been a while, but my main focus was just to make sure I came out and did the things we talked about in our meetings. It was definitely a big day for me. I think I needed this camp more than anybody, so I was pretty excited and I felt good."
Ingram said that there aren't really any limitations on him at the moment, and that his knee didn't swell up at all - a great sign.
"The entire time I was out here I didn't feel anything, not one time," he said. "And I was able to relax and make a couple plays today."
Now that he's on the right track health wise, Ingram's focus is on making an impact on the field at a tight end position that suddenly is going to be quite competitive. Nothing is certain at the position aside from Brent Celek sitting atop the depth chart. The next spot will be a battle to watch between Ingram, Martin Rucker and fourth-round draft choice Clay Harbor. Last season, the Eagles only kept two tight ends on the roster for the majority of the year, but in a group this deep it would be surprising if three players didn't end up on the 53-man roster.
"I think we have a great group of guys," Ingram said. "I think the chemistry with everybody is pretty good, but at the end of the day all of us are competing to get on the field. So just when you have that competitive nature in the classroom, out on the field, you want to make sure you take advantage of every opportunity."
Those who have followed Ingram's progress since last summer know that he's worked closely with middle linebacker Stewart Bradley, who suffered his own torn ACL a few days after Ingram did. Ingram has consistently given Bradley a lot of credit for pushing the both of them to rehab as intensely as possible and for teaching him about being a professional.
"It actually helped a lot," Ingram said of his year rehabbing. "I was always attending the meetings, still being around the team. It helps out a lot, but at the end of the day, nothing compares to actually being out on the field. So, like I said, today was pretty big and exciting for me, and it felt pretty good."
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 4:30 p.m., May 19