Earlier in the off-season, media reports surfaced that guard Max Jean-Gilles would not be able to play in 2009. Jean-Gilles suffered a broken fibula during the Thanksgiving win over the Cardinals. It came as the fourth-round pick from 2006 was finally able to crack the starting lineup at right guard in the absence of Shawn Andrews. Jean-Gilles started 10 games before suffering the injury.
Jean-Gilles heard the reports and it fueled his desire to make it back in 2009 that much more.
"It was motivation. I love stuff like that," Jean-Gilles said. "Everybody was telling me, 'Oh, you're not going play this season.' I was like, 'No, I'm coming back strong. Better than ever.'"
One possible reason for the reports was that Jean-Gilles' weight made it that much tougher to train. Jean-Gilles admitted that it took him a while to get a hang of running and that he still has about 12 pounds to lose to get to his ideal weight of 355.
Jean-Gilles reported on Sunday with the rookies and selected veterans. He's battled through these first two days, but to be able to play now is the reward for what was one of the most trying times for him.
"It's been the longest off-season of my life," Jean-Gilles said. "I was here (in Philadelphia) ever since everyone went home (at the end of the season). Just rehabbing, training, trying to get better. It's been a very long process. I had to keep myself mentally tough. I was telling myself every day that it happens for a reason. It's football, so anything can happen on one play. It hurt, but I had to keep myself mentally strong."
Adding another hurdle in Jean-Gilles' path was the addition of Stacy Andrews, who inked a six-year deal on the first weekend of free agency to man the right guard spot vacated when Shawn Andrews moved out to right tackle.
"I have to prove myself every day, so it was nothing new," Jean-Gilles said.
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 5:28 p.m., July 28