Philadelphia Eagles News

Center: A Position of Opportunity

The Eagles' center position has been one of opportunity.

Before suffering a season-ending knee injury against Denver, Jamaal Jackson had made 71 consecutive starts. Jackson, ironically, held down the job since filling in for an injured Hank Fraley midway through the 2005 season.

Nick Cole filled in admirably for Jackson in the final two games against the Cowboys and figures to see the bulk of the snaps during the spring and summer while Jackson recovers from ACL surgery.

Head coach Andy Reid says it's too early to speculate on Jackson's health for 2010.

"It's too early to tell," Reid said. "I'm going to tell you that the surgery went well. The doctors felt good about it. Right now he's on crutches and just coming off of the surgery.

"Until you really get on that knee and you're pushing it ... you don't know."

What's interesting here is the Eagles' steady center play has come from players that were not even drafted. Jackson, Cole and Fraley all came into the league as undrafted rookie free agents.

Fraley earned the center job for the 2001 season opener, when he was pressed into duty when starting center Bubba Miller broke his right leg in the first quarter of the final preseason game against the New York Jets.

Fraley remained the man in the middle until the eighth game of the 2005 season when he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury. That afforded Jackson the opportunity to prove himself. Coaches were so impressed with Jackson that they dealt Fraley to Cleveland.

Right now, the Eagles have two other centers on their roster - Dallas Reynolds, an undrafted rookie who was promoted from the practice squad to the active roster when Jackson was hurt last month. On Jan. 11, the team added former Penn State center A.Q. Shipley, a seventh-round pick of the Steelers in 2009.

No jobs are won at the time of the year. But the opportunity is front and center.

-- Posted by Bob Kent, 7:30 p.m., January 17

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content