He had not missed a game at any time in his football career, so as Rodney McLeod watched Sunday's game against the Giants from the Eagles' sidelines, he was borderline maniacal. In a good way.
"I was the same way that I am on the field," McLeod said, laughing. "Passionate, screaming my butt off, calling out everything that I saw, helping those guys out in any way. That was my role that game. I was just there when they needed me."
The Eagles won without McLeod in the lineup as he continued his recovery from a hamstring injury suffered in the Week 2 loss at Kansas City. An injury that sometimes keeps players out for weeks has healed to the point where McLeod has practiced on Wednesday and Thursday and is on track to play Sunday in Los Angeles. The Chargers, that is.
"I'm extremely confident," McLeod said on Thursday. "It felt good being back out there the past couple of days. I'm moving around well. I'm just excited, man. You don't know how much you miss it until you're not out there. It just feels good to be back and I'm looking forward to Sunday to being back out there with those guys."
McLeod's anticipated return to the lineup is a big boost for a secondary that hung on against New York playing without McLeod, Corey Graham, and Jaylen Watkins. Chris Maragos started in McLeod's spot and did a good job, but McLeod is the starter for a reason. He's a good tackler and a ball hawk and the Eagles missed him as the Giants attacked the middle of the defense with crossing routes and slant patterns in the passing game.
"We had a lot of guys step up and we won the game, and that's all that matters," McLeod said.
As for the Chargers, the defense has its hands full against quarterback Philip Rivers and standout receiver Keenan Allen, speedster Travis Benjamin and future Hall of Famer tight end Antonio Gates.
"Philip Rivers is a veteran, a gunslinger who has seen a lot, so we're going to have to move him around a little bit and try to get him off rhythm," McLeod said. "Keenan Allen is a good receiver, Travis Benjamin is a vertical guy, and Antonio Gates is still getting it done.
"There is never a dull moment in this league for our defense, so we're going to be up for a challenge, but we're preparing well and ready for Sunday."
McLeod included, and that's a very good thing for this defense.