Wednesday marked a victory for cornerback Sidney Jones. A "very big" one in fact.
The second-round pick practiced for the first time as an Eagle. He tore his Achilles at the end of his Pro Day workout at the University of Washington back in March. That didn't stop the Eagles from using the 43rd overall pick on him.
"I can't even describe how happy and excited I am. It's been a long road," Jones said after practice. "I'm just happy to be back with my team."
Jones has spent all season on the Reserve/Non-Football Injury list. Wednesday activated a three-week window where Jones can practice with the team. If the Eagles deem that Jones is ready, he can be placed on the active roster at any point during the 21 days. Should the Eagles choose to keep Jones on the Reserve/Non-Football Injury list for the remainder of the season, he will have a little bit of experience to get a jump-start on the 2018 campaign.
"He's worked really, really hard at putting himself in this position," defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said. "He's had a big injury. He's been diligent. He's been consistent. He's kept a great attitude and all that will serve him. But we'll just have to see how it is on the field because we can't judge him based on any other rookie or any other veteran player. He's at a completely different spot."
Jones isn't concerned about whether or not he will play in a game this year. He is thankful to be back on the field - in any capacity - after the injury robbed him of being a first-round pick back in April.
"You never know what's going to happen so you just got to take each day like it's your last," said the two-time first-team All-Pac-12 selection. "Go out there and give it everything you've got."
The 6-foot, 181-pound Jones took part in individual drills and saw some reps on the scout team, sporting a red No. 21 pinney to mimic Giants safety Landon Collins (who missed practice with an ankle injury). From a mental standpoint, Jones is up to speed on the defense because the players in the secondary and defensive backs coach Cory Undlin quiz the rookie during each film session.
"We're not necessarily hard on him, but we've been trying to make sure he has something to do. We're asking him questions in the meeting. We're giving him things to report on, things that he needs to study just to keep him into it," safety Malcolm Jenkins said. "It's tough to stay engaged when you're on the team and you're a rookie. It's just a long year. I can only imagine what going through in his mind not being able to be out there but still wanting to contribute. It's good for him to get back out there on the field."
Jones was also thankful for teammates like linebacker Jordan Hicks and tackle Jason Peters, who both have overcome Achilles injuries in the past, to provide guidance through the rehab process.
"It's been a long journey. I've had a great support system around me," Jones said. "Everybody's been helping me."
Wednesday was a special day for Sidney Jones. No setbacks on the field. The injury wasn't even on his mind.
"I just have to take it slow. I have to get into (football) shape first. That's the biggest thing. I don't want to hurt any other body parts. We just have to make progressions during practice and get better every day," he said.