More Medical Churn for Eagles
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Most Eagles fans don't even know the names Shireen Mansoori and Shaun Huls but many of those same diehards feel more comfortable Tuesday after the Philadelphia Inquirer revealed that the Eagles have let the contracts expire for two of their high-profile sports-science department employees.
Huls, the director of high performance, has been in Philadelphia far longer, arriving in 2013 with Chip Kelly as the former strength and conditioning and injury prevention coordinator for the Navy SEALs. He was spun as the innovative sports-science master for the coach who was going to transform the NFL by giving the Eagles the advantage in things like nutrition and conditioning with smoothies, hydration tests and eight hours of sleep.
In truth, Kelly just paid more lip service to what everyone else already knew, that taking care of your body is an advantage over those who don't. Huls remained with the transition back to Howie Roseman 2.0 and Doug Pederson and his title was tweaked.
Mansoori, the director of rehabilitation, was hired in August of 2018, a time frame that placed her directly into the middle of the narrative that the Eagles have had problems dealing with soft-tissue injuries that other NFL teams do not.
There is no magic rehab for soft-tissue injuries, however. The treatment is pretty conventional with every NFL team and because Mansoori hasn't even been with the organization that long highlights that the so-called issues pre-date her and belie any connection.
Jalen Mills' foot injury is the one many have questioned but that certainly came across like a diagnosis problem and Mills himself raved about Mansoori when describing his year-long rehab to the Eagles' web site.
"Shireen really cared about me and my injury," Mills said. "She wasn't trying to rush me back out there on the field. The bond between us turned from a physical therapist-player one to that of really good friends."
GM Howie Roseman even admitted many of the team's soft-tissue problems were the result of signing older players.
"I think that when you talk about the chance of getting hurt, the older you get, the higher chance you have of getting hurt," Roseman admitted last month. "So I definitely think that's a factor in the injuries. I mean, my body doesn't feel the same way that it did five, six, seven, eight, nine years ago."
Arsh Dhanota was named the Eagles' chief medical officer in June of 2019 and he was tasked with observing the entire medical staff throughout this past season before offering up recommendations.
"We have hired a new chief medical officer. This is someone that we are very, very excited to have," Roseman explained. "He came in in June and what he asked for us was that he would observe, observe through the season, observe our training staff, observe our weight staff, our sports science, our processes, and make recommendations to us that we would carry out. So we're excited about that."
Because Huls and Mansoori had expiring deals, these were likely the easiest of what figure to be more Dhanota decisions.
The real issue, though, has nothing to do with any of the staff's medical decisions. It's certainly plausible that Dhanota simply wants others around he feels more comfortable with or feels the need to justify his fancy title with action.
From an organizational standpoint, though, the Eagles feel they spend far too much time bogged down explaining injuries and do not like it. The problem, however, remains messaging and a lack of transparency turns into questions about the medical staff which has resulted in a self-fulfilling prophecy that has produced churn for three consecutive years.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen