As Training Camp practices started on Monday, the emphasis was on the rookies and their retention of what they learned from the spring. Among that group was veteran cornerback Ron Brooks, on the field for a full practice for the first time since suffering a season-ending injury last October.
So as the heat started rising on Monday and the steam increased, Brooks thrived in the moment. He was happy to be back.
It had been a long, long journey to get to this point.
"It's been kind of like a roller coaster," he said. "You get on top of the roller coaster and you're like, 'Whoaaaa, here I go.' Then you go down and it's exciting. I'm excited to be out there. Took me a lot of work to do it right and make sure I was good before I got back on the field."
Brooks was playing good football for the Eagles as the team's nickel cornerback in 2016 before he suffered a torn quadriceps in the Week 7 victory over Minnesota at Lincoln Financial Field. Season gone. Nasty rehabilitation ahead.
What's important to understand is just how much Brooks got on the field last year when he was healthy. He played in 73 percent of the snaps against Cleveland in the opener, 81 percent of the snaps against Chicago, 97 percent in the victory over Pittsburgh. You get the idea.
Nickel cornerback is, in effect, a starter's job, and the Eagles think Brooks is a very fine nickel cornerback for the defense.
While Brooks isn't quite all the way back, he's closing in. Every day is important for him as he prepares for the September 10 opener at Washington. Head coach Doug Pederson said on Monday that Brooks figures into a question-mark-laden cornerback picture as the primary nickel corner, lining up against slot receivers.
That's just fine with Brooks.
"I'm fine with anything," he said. "Of course I want to be out there for every snap in every game. That's the nature of it. But you play the role that the coaches think makes the team better. As long as I'm right and feeling good, I'm going to be out there helping this football team."
It was a good thing, then, seeing Brooks working on the field on Monday. He's got a long Training Camp to go and four important preseason games worth of reps to take before all the rust is gone and Brooks is ready for Washington, but Day 1 was a positive first step.