As the Eagles tweak the roster with the playoffs on the horizon, they hope that this Sunday they might find something special with kickoff return specialist Gerard Lawson.
The Eagles signed Lawson to the active roster on December 24 after Jorrick Calvin was placed on injured reserve with a back injury. Lawson had spent two seasons with the Cleveland Browns and had some limited experience as a kickoff returner in his 20 career games. Lawson was released by the Browns during this year's training camp after an off-the-field incident and eventually signed with the UFL's Hartford Colonials.
Lawson gained valuable reps as a returner with 23 kickoff returns for 483 yards while also returning an interception for a touchdown as a cornerback. Lawson paid the $25,000 transfer fee out of his pocket to the UFL to be able to sign with the Eagles. Lawson was inactive for Tuesday night's game against Minnesota, but head coach Andy Reid said this week that Lawson will get some opportunities Sunday against Dallas.
"It's real big. I get to learn the system a little more. I get some game time. I get to show what I can do out there," Lawson said. "I haven't played in four weeks. I'm just anxious to get out there and play a game and have fun, just make plays with the guys."
The Eagles hope that Lawson could be a quality late-season find like Colt Anderson was. Anderson was signed off the Vikings practice squad on November 10 and in just seven games is tied for third on the team with 183 production points and 12 special teams tackles.
"He was really an aggressive kid, I mean, really aggressive; reminded me of when (general manager) Howie (Roseman) brought in the film on Colt Anderson, you know, really played hard, tough, physical, packs a punch, all of those things that you really like," special teams coordinator Bobby April said of Lawson. "I liked him right from jump Street when I saw that kind of tenacity, that kind of fervor for the game, that kind of passion, he's into it. So to me that's impressive."
With the wild card round of the playoffs beginning a week from today, the Eagles are trying to unearth any sliver of an edge that they can find. One potential improvement could be on display Sunday.
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 12:00 p.m., January 1