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DE Clemons Returns; Thankful After Scare

On Thursday, Chris Clemons ambled off the practice field with a little extra baggage.

It wasn't very noticeable. After all, the defensive end wasn't hauling pads for veterans, like rookies DeSean Jackson and Justin Roland have been seen doing. Nothing like that.

It was simply Clemons' signal that he heeds a warning his body called out.

Clemons practiced Thursday morning, just two days after being hospitalized due to dehydration. In his right hand, he clutched his helmet. And inside the helmet leaned a bottle of Gatorade.

"Sometimes you just have to take a look at yourself and listen to your body," Clemons said. "And that was one of those things that I probably didn't do."

It's hard for Clemons to know exactly what went wrong on Tuesday morning or how he felt when the heat overtook him – he doesn't remember most of it. He credits teammates for alerting head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder and his staff when something didn't seem right.

Clemons said teammates told him he was shrugging things off and didn't seem to be completely with it while going through drills.

Then, he went to the sidelines, where he dropped to one knee. Burkholder immediately wrapped Clemons in cold towels and carted him back to the locker room facility for more tests.

"You can't be scared when you really don't know much," Clemons said. "I've never been through that situation before."

After receiving an IV, Clemons still wasn't responding well to Burkholder's questioning. It was then Burkholder decided to call 911. Clemons never lost consciousness, Burkholder said.

"It's always comforting when you've got somebody that tries to jump on a problem before it actually gets worse," Clemons said. "I'm just appreciative of this organization and of the training staff that we have."

Thanks to recent developments, it's incredibly important to the team that Clemons is back on the field. He projects to be a key part of the Eagles' pass rush, especially after projected starter Victor Abiamiri underwent surgery for a dislocated wrist.

Clemons, who signed a five-year deal in March, wouldn't blame his illness on increased reps because of Abiamiri's injury or the aggressive nature of head coach Andy Reid's training camp, but Oakland's camp last season featured only one practice during the day and one later at night.

"You always have to see your role expanding. If he was healthy, you always have to prepare for the worst," Clemons said. "And just the worst happened early in training camp."

Clemons was watched very carefully in Thursday's practice. He said trainers had taken precautionary methods to monitor him, but didn't elaborate on exactly what.

He had not made a decision on returning to the practice field until Thursday morning, when he told trainers he felt fine and could go. Still, he had a few eyes on him at all times.

"You know what, he was out there and I think he did a good job. He looked like he was moving around well," head coach Andy Reid said. "I heard him talking a few times, which is always a good sign because he wasn't talking a lot the other day."

Clemons knows how important his role is – how important his health is. That role is nonexistent without his wellbeing.

He's going to "fight to the end," he said. But he's learned his lesson. He'll make sure he's capable of fighting first.

"Every guy is going to try to push through something like that," he said. "And it's just a matter of time before it catches up with you. And just through the grace of God, somebody was there to catch it before it got even worse."

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