- Carson Wentz participated in 11-on-11 drills for the first time on Thursday.
As high noon approached at the NovaCare Complex on Thursday, Eagles players began trotting out on the field one by one for the first day of the defending Super Bowl Champions' Training Camp.
Quarterback Carson Wentz, however, burst through the door and sprinted onto the field.
Wentz's arrival was the first indication that he would excel on the first day of camp and show the progress he's made since his limited participation in spring practices.
"It's been good," Wentz said to reporters after practice about his rehabilitation. "Obviously it's the first time out there with guys all around me but you do things in rehab just to get used to that and mentally I feel like I've been getting through it very well."
Wentz wore a brace on his knee for the entire practice but said "contact" was his only limitation. For the first time since his injury, he participated in 11-on-11 drills, having only taken part in 7-on-7 drills in the June minicamp.
"That was kind of the plan that we put in place for the summer, to build to that," Wentz said. "I was finally cleared yesterday to do that so I was excited just to be out there today and run around with the guys. So, we'll just progress from there but it felt good."
Wentz joined the offense for 11-on-11s following quarterback Nick Foles' reps. The team's excitement showed as Wentz clapped repeatedly and high-fived tight end Zach Ertz while entering the huddle.
"I felt great," Wentz said. "Obviously, it was a limited number of reps today, kind of a shorter practice, but it felt great just to get out there, be under center, be with the guys again, whatever the pass drill was today. That felt good."
Head coach Doug Pederson said he planned to have Wentz participate in 11-on-11 drills in Training Camp based on what he saw from him in the spring.
"I thought he was comfortable," Pederson said. "He did some nice things today. It was very limited obviously. We didn't do too much, I think we had 30 offensive plays. It was good, it was a good first start for everybody."
Pederson said he plans to have Wentz participate in more 11-on-11 drills going forward in Training Camp but will be cautious.
"We're going to continue to monitor his progress obviously day by day and go off of how he feels but we'll continue to sprinkle him from time to time," Pederson said. "I'm not going to push him or get him out there sooner than he has to. I want to make sure that he's 100 percent. He looked good today and we're just going to continue to progress."
Wentz said the "next step" in his progression is participating in full-contact drills. He said he does not have a date in mind to be cleared for contact and just wants to be ready for the season opener against the Falcons.
"I'm not really sure, honestly," Wentz said. "I'd say September 6, to be cleared by then, and as long as I have the brace off I'll feel good. But that's the goal, and again, we're just going to progress along here and see what happens."
With that in mind, Wentz said he does not mind missing all four preseason games in an effort to be ready for Week 1.
"My goal is September 6. We'll see how it goes with all of that but when I'm ready, I'll be ready," Wentz said. "I'm going to be smart with it. I know I'll be out there when I'm ready, I won't rush it, but so far so good."
Wentz and Pederson both disputed a report from Wednesday that Wentz was set to be on the Physically Unable to Perform list to start camp. He said his rehab is going as planned.
"We have a good plan in place," Wentz said. "Yes, as a competitor you want to be out there, you want to do this, this, and this, but it's not just my call, it's not just coach's call, it's not just the trainers' call. It's a culmination of everybody and we have a good plan in place."
Wentz had a busy offseason. In addition to his rehab at the NovaCare Complex, he went home to North Dakota, spent time in Haiti to work with his AO1 Foundation, held a charity softball event at Citizens Bank Park, and even got married on July 15.
He wore his wedding ring at the podium and said he plans to keep it on all season.
"It was a good balance," Wentz said. "It was a great balance this summer just being back in North Dakota, doing some things for the foundation, I'm just finding ways to keep getting workouts in. Even on the honeymoon, finding ways to keep getting more rehab in and things like that. It was an amazing summer, I'll say that."
The Eagles filled out a quick questionnaire so that everyone can look back and remember the first day of 2018 Eagles Training Camp.