Prior to accepting an award for heading the NFL's Athletic Training Staff of the Year, Eagles head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder had a chance to update the condition of some Eagles who are on the mend, hoping to make an impact in 2011. Asked which of the 12 players currently under the watchful eye of Burkholder's staff he expects to impress next season, Burkholder showed why his staff is so highly regarded around the league.
"I hope all of them, otherwise I may not ever be back to this award," Burkholder joked. "I think they're all doing great. The rookie class, and we have (players from the first five rounds of last year's draft) in rehab right now. The guys (general manager) Howie Roseman and that staff brought in, those are quality guys, so it's fun for us because Brandon (Graham) and Nate (Allen) and Clay Harbor and Ricky Sapp, those guys are working their tails off.
"So I would say the rookies that are in rehab right now, our fans need to keep an eye on those guys because they're determined. I see it ... Those guys are so fired up to be Eagles and they want to make an impact next year and they think they can. Plus they know that we have a pretty good team and they want to be a part of that."
One player who's no longer under the purview of the training staff is Jamaal Jackson, who has faced two extensive rehabs the past two seasons - one for a torn ACL and one for a torn triceps. But Jackson rehabbed so feverishly that he's basically back to full strength.
"I haven't talked about Jamaal because he's not in there right now," Burkholder said. "He's passed his physical and he's ready to go, he's working out and he's lifting. I see him in there every now and then because he's working out with Barry Rubin our strength coach. Jamaal's a quiet and very intellectual guy, but man is he tough. He's taken rehab to the extreme with us. He worked a lot with Joe O'Pella with his last rehab. Tough, tough guy. It's interesting because he was the leader in our training room and it's interesting because those guys tell me he's the leader on the field. I think having him just coming through the room at this time of year to workout, he'll tell (the rookies), 'Listen, trust those guys, they'll get you right.' That means a lot to me, that means a lot to our guys. Plus I think it means a lot to our young guys. I think Nate and those guys, there's uncertainty, they've never been hurt. So when that comes from Jamaal, who's overcome some injuries and played at a high level, they go, 'Alright, I trust him.'"
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 10:30 a.m., March 8