Johnathan Cyprien felt something special the moment he walked onto the practice field at the NovaCare Complex on Saturday morning. More than one year (August 1, 2018) after tearing his ACL at Tennessee Titans practice, Cyprien participated in an NFL practice. Needless to say, there wasn't anyone on the field happier than Cyprien on Saturday.
"The minute I walked out onto the field, it was a blessing," Cyprien said, wearing No. 41. "It's special to me. It's something I love to do. Now I'm focused on the playbook and getting that down and competing at a high level."
A veteran safety with 72 career regular-season and playoff games under his belt after playing five years with Jacksonville and Tennessee, Cyprien knows he's got to show the Eagles something good to make the 53-man roster. That means learning quickly, and Cyprien said he's the kind of guy who loves repetitions, who sees the play as he's studying and then writes it down again. He'll need that kind of attention to detail to fill in the blanks with this defense.
Versatility is something the Eagles look for in their safeties, and Cyprien knows that he'll be asked to do a lot of things in coverage and supporting the run defense. That's the way the game is now for players at that position in this league.
"Safeties, we have to do a lot of things," Cyprien said. "I'm just focused on playing at a high level and making this team proud and earning the trust of my teammates. I'm the player that has a love for the game and I'm going to show it while I'm out there, but it starts with learning the playbook, jelling with my teammates, and playing as one with the defense."
Cyprien worked out for the Eagles in June, one of four teams he worked out for this spring. After flying into Philadelphia on Friday, he signed in the afternoon and was on the field on Saturday morning.
Now it's about knowing his assignments on defense and finding a spot in a crowded safety room.
"It feels great to be here with the great Philadelphia Eagles organization," Cyprien said. "I have a passion for the game. I'm excited to be here."