Sidney Jones Inches Closer to a Return
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Minicamp is almost here and the boot is off for Eagles rookie cornerback Sidney Jones.
Don't get too excited though as Jones, who ruptured his Achilles at the University of Washington's pro day back in March, is not ready to do any on-field work just yet but the Eagles are moving forward with the assumption that the talented Golden State native will play at some point this season.
"We are preparing like he is going to play this year," defensive backs coach Cory Undlin said at the NovaCare Complex Monday. "Now, is he? I have no idea. He has no idea."
Jones' original recovery time after surgery was pegged at four to six month by his surgeon, Dr. Robert Anderson, but the Eagles' have taken a more cautious approach and have repeatedly refused to put any timetable on the rookie, who likely would have been a top-15 pick in April's draft had he been healthy.
The Eagles took a chance on Jones in the second round at No. 43 overall and although Undlin has yet to see his prized rookie on the practice fields in South Philadelphia, he remains excited about what he saw on film at UW.
"Competitiveness, effort, his change of direction, the ball-skills. He could find (the football) down the field, which is obviously imperative for us," Undlin said.
The Eagles will begin their final three offseason practices on Tuesday when the mandatory minicamp begins and while Jones won't be competing with the other top corners on the roster like Jalen Mills and fellow rookie Rasul Douglas, he will start getting the all-important mental reps.
And that's an important step because Jones has been back in Seattle due to the NFL's graduation rule which prevents rookie to attend OTAs if their school hasn't held its graduation for the year. Undlin hasn't seen Jones since rookie camp and has only been allowed to work with him through things like FaceTime.
"FaceTime is amazing," Undlin gushed. "You can only do it at night and we've spent a lot of time talking on FaceTime going through everything."
The tease picks back up Tuesday as Jones will be back in living color, attending meetings and inching ever closer to his return.
"We are going about our business on a daily basis like he is going to play," Undlin said. "When he's out there, he's out there."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen