Hicks Has Plenty to Prove in Contract Year
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Maybe the most impressive part of the Eagles' Super Bowl LII win is the fact that Doug Pederson and Co. persevered to take home the Lombardi Trophy without both of their starting quarterbacks.
Everyone understands Nick Foles was the Mariano Rivera to Carson Wentz's eight-inning shutout but few talk about the fact that Jim Schwartz's defense was without its leader, middle linebacker Jordan Hicks, for over half the season.
Hicks was felled by a torn Achilles early in Week 7 against Washington and is now entering the final year of his rookie deal with a dual-reputation, that of a playmaker but one that is oft-injured.
Hicks' long history with injuries dates back to his days at the University of Texas and two of his three professional campaigns have been short-circuited halfway through, his rookie campaign due to a torn pec and last year's Achilles'.
“When I’m out there, I’m productive," Hicks said at the NovaCare Complex on Tuesday. "So for me, it’s stay healthy, play your game and let it happen. I don’t have any question in my mind, if I’m healthy, I’m productive."
Hicks believes he pushed things a little too far last season, playing on a balky right ankle for weeks, which in turn put more pressure on his opposite Achilles.
“I was dealing with that, it was the opposite ankle,” Hicks explained. “When you’re dealing with one thing, you’re susceptible to another. It’s the way the body works."
As a veteran now he's learned from his past mistakes and feels that will help him stay on the field more moving forward.
"I’ve become a pro, there’s a level of being smart and understanding when enough is enough, and you have to say no at some point," he admitted. "I decided not to sit out. I decided to play vs. the Chargers, Carolina, the Bears, Cardinals on a bum ankle and it pays. Hindsight is 20-20."
Hicks feels good right now and there is plenty of time before the Sept. 6 opener.
“It’s been a very good rehab,” said Hicks. “It feels like from day one I’ve been ahead of schedule. The doctors and training staff are pleased with where I’m at.”
A healthy Hicks is a productive Hicks and if that's the case, his second contract will take care of itself.
“You can’t worry about [your next deal]," Hicks assessed. "If you do, it will take you out of your game, out of your element. We’ve got a lot of time. Really, the mindset, especially right now with so much time, is progressing every day."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen