PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - The Eagles will not have star linebacker Nigel Bradham for the season opener against the Atlanta Falcons on Sept. 6 but it could have been much worse than that.

The veteran linebacker admitted Thursday that he was earmarked for a six-game penalty until the appeals process knocked it all the way down to just one game.

Perhaps that explains the span between the incident in which Bradham assaulted a cabana boy at a Miami-area hotel and the actual suspension which took nearly two full years to manifest itself.

From a legal standpoint, Bradham was charged with assault and accepted a deferred prosecution program, something that triggered the baseline of six games under the league's personal-contact policy.

From there the NFLPA and Bradham's own legal team argued the penalty down with a key aspect being Bradham admitting he was in the wrong.

"I was fortunate that it got down to one," Bradham admitted. "... That's just what it was. How it works I guess. That's their policy. There is nothing you can do about it except follow it."

The absence of Bradham against the Falcons will hurt but a six-game ban could have been catastrophic at a position with only two proven players, Bradham and the oft-injured Jordan Hicks.

On Thursday Kamu Grugier-Hill and Corey Nelson got some reps with the first team at the Will position while second-year pro Nate Gerry, a player who has called Bradham a mentor as he tries to complete the transition from college safety at Nebraska to NFL linebacker, figures to also get his opportunities in training camp.

"For sure [the workload] is going to change especially toward the end of camp," Bradham admitted. "We gotta get who is going to be out there ready."

-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at jmcmullen44@gmail.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen