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Donnel Pumphrey Aims For Chance To Win Roster Spot

Get an up-close look at the ballcarriers in 2018 training camp.

Frustrating and disappointing.

That pretty much sums up the to-date career of running back Donnel Pumphrey, a fourth-round draft pick in 2017 who has been trying to show the Eagles' coaching staff what he can do.

Injuries haven't allowed that to happen.

After initially making the 53-man roster in his rookie season after an admittedly so-so preseason, Pumphrey suffered a hamstring injury after being inactive in Week 1 and spent the rest of the season on Injured Reserve. Pumphrey used that time to condition, to learn the offense, and to get his legs fresh for 2018, only to suffer another injury to the same hamstring. He has yet to play in the preseason. And as we all know, it's hard to make the club, when you're in the (training room) tub.

"It's been frustrating because I felt I was in great shape and ready to play my best football this year," Pumphrey said on Sunday at his NovaCare Complex locker. "I felt like my legs were back, I knew the offense, and I was playing good football. Then I hurt my hamstring again and here I am."

Where he is remains in limbo. The Eagles are likely to carry a fourth running back behind Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement, and Darren Sproles on the 53-man roster. Pumphrey was certainly considered a strong candidate for the job after a good spring when he displayed more burst than he had after an exhausting and record-setting collegiate career at San Diego State.

But ...

"I know the coaches value durability," he said. "It's been tough for me and I know the whole picture. I feel good now and I have to stay that way."

Whether that's enough to earn a roster spot is the next answer. The Eagles brought in veteran Matt Jones to compete for the spot, but he hasn't been productive in the preseason games. Undrafted rookie Josh Adams has looked good in his two games of action. Third-year man Wendell Smallwood started in Cleveland on Thursday night and led the Eagles with 53 hard-fought yards on 12 carries.

Thursday against the Jets in the preseason finale means something for Pumphrey.

"I just want to play well and put some good football on tape," he said. "That's my only goal. I have to put what's happened in the past behind me and just focus on this game. Not make too much of it. Just go out there and have fun playing this game."

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