There were two 300-pound plus pleasant surprises on the practice field at Lehigh Sunday morning as offensive linemen Todd Herremans and Jamaal Jackson were each activated from the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list and participated in individual drills with their teammates for the first time since training camp began.
Herremans, slated to start at left guard, has been hampered by a foot injury, though he has maintained all along that he'll be ready for the regular season.
"I feel great," he said after practice. "It felt good to get back out there."
While Herremans' return was expected, if not this soon, the sight of Jackson back in pads is something that few people, including Jackson himself, expected to see at this stage of the season.
"I wouldn't say I'm surprised, but it is enlightening a little bit," Jackson said of his return. "The next step is moving a lot more than what I did today. It was good to get out there and get some coaching from (offensive line coach) Juan (Castillo) and some individual periods banging a little bit with my teammates. But ultimately the goal is to get out there and be worry free."
Jackson said that he's still hoping to be able to return for the opening day tilt against the Green Bay Packers on September 12.
"I'm still optimistic about it," he said. "But right now, my thing is checking with Dr. (James) Andrews and (strength and conditioning coach) Rick (Burkholder) and have those guys develop a plan. We implemented some of it today and we'll add a little bit more tomorrow."
It's been a tough road for Jackson, who went down with a torn ACL on December 26, in the second to last game of the season. The Eagles would lose their next two games, both to the Dallas Cowboys. And for Jackson, a mainstay on the offensive line who had started 71 consecutive games at center, the time off has been haunting.
"You hate to go down with your team in prime position going to the playoffs," he said. "I still think about that last snap that I took. I think about it every day. It's something that over time I'm going to have to forget and just know that there's another season ahead."
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 11:23 a.m., August 15