The Eagles Get their Energy Back with Brandon Graham
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - The Eagles have their energy back.
Star defensive end Brandon Graham was activated from the PUP list on Monday after missing the entire offseason and most of the summer after ankle surgery.
The last time we saw Graham on the field, his strip sack of Tom Brady in Super Bowl LII essentially cliched the first NFL championship for Philadelphia since 1960.
And Graham ensured the Lombardi Trophy would end up at the NovaCare Complex for the first time despite dealing with ankle and hamstring issues.
We knew the former coming into the big game but the latter was something Graham revealed when talking with reporters at his locker this spring. He injured his ankle on Christmas night against the Oakland Raiders before missing Philadelphia's regular-season finale against Dallas and returning for the playoffs at far less than 100 percent.
"I needed six weeks instead of three," Graham explained when discussing what he described as a high-ankle sprain. "But, I had to do what I dad to so, it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience playing in the playoffs and make a run with the team we had. All I did as grind it out and end up paying for it."
Graham acknowledged that compensating for the balky ankle was the reason his strained his hamstring against the Patriots in Minneapolis but nothing was taking him off the field, except for play heard 'round Philadelphia when the hampered veteran raced around right tackle to shake the ball loose from the greatest quarterback of all-time, who happened to be red-hot at the time.
“I’ve watched that play, I don’t know, 100 times?” Graham said. “I just know that doing what we did, with this group of guys, and doing it for Eagles fans in this city, that’s what it’s all about. It’s been special."
Ultimately Graham needed offseason surgery to "clean out" the ankle and remained in the sidelines with an eye on on Sept. 6 against Atlanta.
"The surgery, you know, nobody wants to go through that, but at the same time it’s football, and you’re going to have these kinds of things happen," he said.
At 30 and entering the final year of his current deal Graham and the cap-strapped Eagles have been wrangling over a contract extension, something no doubt complicated by the surgery.
“I know this next deal is going to be potentially my last deal,” Graham admitted. “Hopefully I get more after that, but you just never know, so I want to make sure that I get it done right so it works for both ways. For me, playing out this year and hopefully getting something done."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen