PHILADELPHIA ( - The Eagles kicked off Phase 3 of their Organized Team Activities on Tuesday morning with just two players missing, veterans Michael Bennett and Darren Sproles.

“We’ve communicated with them, we’ve stayed in touch with them,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. “Sounds like a broken record, but it is a voluntary program and two guys that I don’t have a lot of concern as far as their ability to help us win games because they’re veteran players and they know how to get themselves ready to go.”

Both players have a history of skipping "voluntary" work and from Sproles' perspective, he would not be cleared for practice anyway as he continues to rehab from a torn ACL that cut short his 2017 season. He also has a firm grasp of Pederson's offense.

Bennett, however, was acquired from Seattle in the offseason and will need to learn Jim Schwartz's scheme. His absence has nothing to do with legal issues in Houston Pederson did and more to do with the fact that he lives in Hawaii and generally doesn't like to leave paradise until he has to.

“I really don’t have any concern going forward with [Bennett], acclimating himself to the defense,” Pederson said. “You’ve been around long enough to be around Jim's style and what we teach and it fits his strength and that is roll off the ball as a D-lineman. It’s just a matter of getting him in here and around his teammates.”

Overall the attendance is very encouraging for a team coming off a Super Bowl victory and the short offseason that comes along with that, although numerous players remain in rehab mode and will be not practicing in the spring, headlined of course by Carson Wentz.

“We’ll do our best to manage some guys,” Pederson said. “We have a list of injured players and guys we want to make sure we rest during this time. You gotta understand that we’re a month later and so our full recovery time has been less. That’s something you have to understand. From that standpoint, I have to do my job and be smart with how we handle some of our veteran players.”

-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for You can reach him at or on Twitter @JFMcMullen

Want more NFL? Check out John's piece on why the comparison between Jared Goff and Mitchell Trubisky needs a little more nuance at

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