It's felt like an eternity since tight end Dallas Goedert played, at least for a young man who isn't used to being inactive. Goedert suffered a high-ankle sprain and a fractured tibia in the tie against Cincinnati in Week 3 and now that he's back on the practice field, Goedert is exhilarated to be back with his teammates. It was his first "real" injury dating back through college (he missed one game last year against Atlanta in Week 2, but the injury was suffered in pregame warmups).
The time off was not particularly pleasant, watching road games on television and the home games from a suite at Lincoln Financial Field.
Now, Goedert is closing in on a return. His 21-day window to practice opened on Wednesday and Goedert is excited to be on the field, even if in a limited capacity.
"It's good to be back. It's been a long time," Goedert said on Thursday. "I'm feeling good. It's been a blast being able to get out there with the team again, to see their faces a little bit more. When you're on IR (Injured Reserve), you're out of the building for a little while, so it's been good to see those guys. It's just been a blast to be back."
The big question is this: Will Goedert play on Sunday night against the Dallas Cowboys? He says "we're still taking it slow, making sure everything is the way it's supposed to be."
Having two tight ends on the field in the 12 personnel package (one running back, two tight ends) has been an essential part of the Eagles' offense for years, but with Goedert and Zach Ertz injured, it wasn't quite as easy to use that grouping. Richard Rodgers has done a fine job of replacing the production without those two and with young tight ends Hakeem Butler and Jason Croom taking some reps, but it just hasn't been the same.
Goedert is, clearly, not far away. Zach Ertz, who has an ankle injury, remains on IR and is still at least a couple of weeks from returning. Every day Goedert is on the practice field, he has to prove he can ramp it up physically for Sunday.
"To be able to sustain a block, sit in there and have someone pushing against me while I'm pushing against it. I've got to be able to run good routes," Goedert said. "I can't go out there at 75 percent and get covered. That's just a waste. Just making sure I'm feeling good, I look good, and then it's just a decision between the coaches and the trainers whether they think I'm good enough in the position to play."
That Goedert is close to returning – along with players like linebacker T.J. Edwards, offensive tackle Jason Peters, and wide receiver Jalen Reagor – gives the Eagles a chance to be a whole lot healthier than they've been through the first seven games of the season.
That is something everyone wants.
"We've got so many people close to coming back that it's going to be fun to see what this team can do here in the next few weeks." Goedert said.