One of the most promising developments of the off-season workouts was the return to the practice field of tight end Cornelius Ingram.
Ingram slid to the Eagles in the fifth round of the 2009 NFL draft due, in large part, to an ACL tear he suffered in the summer before his final year at Florida. But Ingram, 6-foot-4, 245 pounds, shined during last year's off-season, especially impressing during the early stages of training camp with his freakish athletic ability in the passing game and his willingness as a blocker.
Then, Ingram cruelly re-tore the same ACL that ended his college career during training camp, ending his first year as a pro. The bright side to Ingram's injury occurring so early was that it allowed him to recover in plenty of time for the 2010 season.
So all eyes were on Ingram when he stepped onto the practice field to join the tight end group during the post-draft mini-camp. He was only a partial participant then, but when the team reconvened for the Organized Team Activities, Ingram participated in all team drills, and worked almost exclusively with the second team at tight end, ahead of Martin Rucker and rookie fourth-round pick Clay Harbor. Ingram also worked in with the first-team offense in two-tight-end sets.
"I think I've been doing a lot of positive things, so the most important thing is to just keep getting better every day at something," he said. "That's our motto in our meeting room, strive to get better in one thing and try not to focus on a whole lot because when you do that you tend to lose focus."
Ingram admitted that it took him a few days to get fully back in the fold, but once he did, he was all systems go.
"I think I had a pretty good camp for the most part," he said. "This next month and a half is still important for me, still do some rehab, run some routes and work out a lot back home. But I definitely feel like I've knocked off a lot of rust. I've still training camp to go, but I definitely feel good."
As for training camp, Ingram has no qualms about returning to the scene of last year's injury. Rather, he's just focused on getting in the best shape he can for the three tough weeks at Lehigh.
"I think all of our coaches have been pretty much stressing that to all the players because we have a pretty young team and they let it be known that the camp is definitely going to be different with a lot of running," Ingram said. "I think if I just come back in the best shape possible then I'll definitely be fine."
So things are looking up for Ingram after a tough two years and he's ready to contribute in a big way. If Ingram is indeed able to make an impact this season as the No. 2 tight end, he will have to prove he can be an effective blocker opposite Brent Celek. So Ingram said that improving his blocking might be his biggest focus in training camp.
"Coming out of college, that was the main question mark about me, having played in a spread offense," he said. "But I think those couple of practices (last year) when I was in full pads, I did pretty well. So I'm going to try to just pick up where I left off last year."
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 4:02 p.m., June 13