As the Eagles attempt to get back to the .500 mark, they could welcome in some reinforcement Monday night against the New Orleans Saints in the form of defensive tackle Mike Patterson. The 29-year-old former first-round pick has been on the Reserve/Non-Football Illness list for the entirety of the 2012 season thus far, but Patterson returned to practice last week.
This week, Patterson will be more involved in practice and, if all goes well, he'll join his teammates in New Orleans Monday night.
"Yeah, there's a chance," Reid said of Patterson potentially playing this week. "Absolutely. There's that chance."
After offseason surgery to repair the Arteriovenous Malformation in his brain, Patterson was not cleared to return to football activities in Training Camp. Upon finally getting the go-ahead to return to the field a couple weeks ago, Patterson began readying himself for his return to the lineup. After all, for a player who played in 110 of 112 games for the first seven seasons of his career, missing time was something to which Patterson was not accustomed.
"I think the Eagles did a really good job as far as allowing me to take my time to come back," said Patterson. "We have good strength coaches here and they really worked real well with me during the offseason and stuff like that. Just making sure that I didn't get too out of focus."
Does Patterson expect to make his return this week?
"I hope so," he said. "You never know how the game goes, but I'm planning on it."
For a defensive line that has struggled at times this season, the return of Patterson would add some fresh legs and a run-stuffing presence for a defense that has allowed 135.7 rushing yards per game over the last three games.
"It would mean a lot," defensive end Trent Cole said. "To get Mike P get back in the rotation, I'm waiting to see this. He's somebody we're waiting to get back."
"Oh yeah, he brings leadership," said defensive tackle Cedric Thornton. "As a vet, he's been in the league a long time. Just the knowledge that he has of the game, his technique and his ability to make plays. That's what we need on the D-line and Mike, he can do that. We'll be happy to have him back."
If the Eagles do activate Patterson, they would have to make a corresponding roster move to create room on the 53-man roster.
"I'm going to see how he does," said Reid. "He felt real good last week. I'm going to work him in in practice, and then we'll just see. Obviously you have to make a somewhere in there and I've got another week so if I don't feel comfortable with how he's feeling, then we can go from there."
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