All cornerback Avonte Maddox thought about after he regained the feeling in his body in the minutes after taking a friendly-fire hit from safety Andrew Sendejo late in the team's game at Green Bay's Lambeau Field was, "Who is going to win this game?"
There was only a minute remaining in the game when Maddox was injured – he suffered a concussion and a neck injury – and Maddox learned when he went to the hospital that linebacker Nigel Bradham intercepted an Aaron Rodgers pass in the end zone to seal the victory. He knew, too, that he was going to be OK and that it was going to take some time for him to get back on the field.
From then until now – four games and more than a month have passed – Maddox has rehabbed and recovered, intent on getting back on the field. He's watched the play a couple of times – "It looked a little brutal," he said. "You can't fault him for that. He's out there playing the same way I'm out there playing. I'm not mad at him. I'm never going to be mad at him. He's out there trying to make a play like I'm out there trying to make plays."
The good news is that Maddox is back on the practice field and his goal is to play Sunday against the Bears.
"I wouldn't put myself back on the field if I didn't think I was ready," Maddox said. "I don't like to play scared and I don't like to play nervous. That's the first step in getting hurt. I just go out there and I don't think about it. I just play."
Having Maddox back is another boost for a secondary that is starting to look like itself again with Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby also back and at full strength. Maddox helps the Eagles in a number of ways. His most likely setting is to come in and help at the nickel cornerback position in the second half of the season. But, as we saw last year in his rookie season, Maddox can also play outside and he can play safety. He does it all and he does it well.
The very fact that he's returning to the lineup – he was a full participant in Wednesday's practice – is encouraging after those scary moments after the injury when Maddox was motionless on the field and then placed and strapped onto a stretcher and taken off the field. Maddox recovered enough that night to fly home with the team, and then he went right into rehab.
"It was slow at first and we were making sure that we did everything right," he said. "I missed the game, but I knew that I would be back, and I wanted to make sure that I was all the way back before I got back to practice. It felt great out there today. It's great to be back. I'm glad to be out there with the guys again."