Extra Points: Cape May Life Eases Disappointment of Missing Eagles Camp
The NFL has now adopted the injury policy used by the NHL, which generally describes injuries as lower or upper body issues.
The Eagles unveiled it on Monday prior to the start of their first full-pads practice of training camp. Wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, defensive end Derek Barnett, defensive tackle Javon Hargrave, and new right guard/old left tackle Jason Peters - actually he's a member of the old guard - did not practice because of lower body injuries.
Hargrave appears to have the worst injury. The Eagles expect him to miss "multiple weeks," which would put his status for the regular-season opener at Washington on Sept. 18 in jeopardy.
What's wrong with him is anyone's guess. I take lower body to mean anything below the waist. So those guys could be suffering from anything from a Lis Franc foot sprain, to a torn ACL, to a pulled hamstring, to a sports hernia, to sprains of various other appendages and joints.
Same thing with upper body. Does that mean a torn biceps, broken collarbone, or concussion?
Whatever the ailments, it's not a good sign for an Eagles team that has been beset by setbacks the last three seasons. And given the absence of OTAs, minicamps and preseason games due to the corornavirus pandemic, players can ill afford to miss any practice time in the quest to get ready for the regular season.
"We don't have a lot of time, obviously," Eagles coach Doug Pederson said Monday morning in a Zoom call with the media. "So we have to make the most of these opportunities, especially these padded sessions that we have in the next couple of weeks."
I also sat out practice Monday.
It marked the first time in 28 years I've missed the first workout of Eagles training camp.
Contrary to popular belief, I did not cover the team's first two training camps, which were held in Atlantic City in 1933-34. My streak started in 1993, when I made the trek to West Chester University to watch coach Rich Kotite, cornerback Eric Allen, quarterback Randall Cunningham, linebacker Seth Joyner and company get ready for what would become an 8-8 season.
From 1996 to 2012, it meant schlepping all the way up to Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. That was the site of the most bizzare episode, which occurred in 2005 when wide receiver Terrell Owens showed up dressed in camouflage alongside agent Drew Rosenhaus and proceeded to be such a distraction that coach Andy Reid banished him for a week. That set up the infamous scene where T.O. was doing situps in his driveway in Moorestown.
The arrival of coach Chip Kelly in 2013 coincided with the decision to move training camp to its current location at the NovaCare Complex. That marked the introduction of blaring music during practices, sleep studies and sweat monitors, not to mention the popular Rita's Water Ice stand behind the sidelines.
I admittedly was a little blue this morning upon realizing I would not be going. It's been a part of my summer for so long, right up there with our annual Margarita Tour through Cape May/Lower Township, Fourth of July weekend fireworks on the Bay and beach, and Sunday evening ice cream at Dry Dock.
My depression didn't last long. It dissipated as soon as I arrived at the Cape May Harbor, unhooked my paddleboard and headed out for a SUP session. The four-mile workout was the perfect remedy. I paddled past the fishing boats at the Lobster House and past the apartment complex formerly known as the "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" because of the prevalence of divorced tenants. I ducked under the little bridge while cars rolled over it, moved past the condos with "Trump 2020 Keep America Great" flags hanging from their balconies, chuckled at the site of Uncle Bill's Pancake House and former Sunset Liquors owner Tom O'Hara's boat, "Flipper and Liquor," moved through Spicer's Creek and under the big bridge back into the harbor.
Seagulls floated overhead while I picked up my pace, passing the "Rollin Fritch" cutter and other vessels docked at the U.S. Coast Guard Training Center. Up ahead, a dozen colorful Sunfish sailboats steered by youngsters from the Corinthian Yacht Club's "Learn to Sail" program maneuvered around buoys.
I straddled my board for a few minutes, content to just relax and breath in the salt air, before standing and powering my way for the final half-mile. As always, I raised my black paddle from Kona Board Shop in Wildwood in victory upon passing the final buoy, even though it was a race of one.
A few hours later I hit the beach before hitting some Titleists in the weekly Monday Men's League at Cape May National Golf Club.
Turns out I didn't miss training camp at all, especially when I heard from a former colleague there was no Rita's Water Ice stand.
If I need a cup of water ice that bad, I can always stop by the Rita's on the Cape May beachfront.
Better yet, I could head over to the Dry Dock.