Lengthy ‘Bye Week’ Finally Ends for Beatty
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - It's no fun to think about a rainy day but the smarter among us prepare for them just in case, something star right tackle Lane Johnson highlighted in the Eagles locker room on Wednesday.
“If me or Big V (Halapoulivaati Vaitai) goes down, who’s next up?" the big man asked rhetorically.
In the wake of Jason Peters' season-ending torn ACL the answer to that question was failed second-year guard Isaac Seumalo, a player sources with the Eagles have told 973espn.com is best-suited for center long-term.
Now it's Will Beatty, a former second-round draft choice up the Jersey Turnpike for the New York Giants who started 63 games with "Big Blue" and was a part of the team that won Super Bowl XLVI before injuries starting taking their toll.
A detached retina suffered against the Eagles back in 2011 required emergency surgery on Thanksgiving Day and forces Beatty to wear a helmet with a shaded visor and a 5 bar facemask to this day in order to prevent further injury and stop sun glare, something the York, Penn. native admits looks "cool" but he would rather not need.
The eye injury was quickly followed by a sciatic nerve issue with his back, a broken leg and eventually a torn pec in Sept. of 2015, something that ended his full-time duty with the Giants.
In between battling through all that, however, Beatty was a well above average left tackle, good enough to earn a five-year, $39 million extension in 2012 and to be the No. 1 ranked LT in football for much of the first half of 2014 campaign by ProFootballFocus.com.
“Having Will, with all his experience, he’s played in the NFC East since 2009, so he’s been a part of this culture, so he knows what to expect,” Johnson said. “As far as the film room, the first thing I noticed is how smart he is. As far as helping me and the other guys, developing other guys, he’s going to be able to help a lot. Watching him out at practice, he can still play."
For now the 6-foot-6, 300-pounder is just happy to be back in the league as he fielded questions from reporters.
"Halfway through the season, I'm just like, 'As long I'm working out, as long as I'm doing what I can do, there's way too much out there that I can control,'" the 32-year-old admitted. "I was just praying and hoping that a team would call me. ...[The Eagles are] coming off a bye week; I'm coming off an extremely long bye week. I'm extremely fresh right now, and I'm using that to my advantage."
The first step for Beatty is a simple one, coming in and learning the system midseason.
“It’s football, the game I love," he said. "It hasn’t changed. It’s still the same. I’m not coming here thinking I’m going to be Superman and do something different. I’m just being me, having fun, trying to make myself better and my teammates as well.”
Doug Pederson, meanwhile, will sleep a little better tonight with the understanding he's got a little something in the bank now in case a rocky road appears.
"He's been a starter in this league, and that's valuable," the Eagles coach said. "He comes in and just gives us that added depth that you like to have at not only the offensive line, but any position that we bring a player in for."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen