PHILADELPHIA - Eagles backup center Dallas Reynolds is out of options.
Unless he is one of the 53 players who will comprise the regular-season roster, Thursday's preseason finale against the New York Jets will be the last time he gets to put on an Eagles uniform.
"I'm trying not to think about it," Reynolds said. "But in the back of my mind, I understand the situation."
The 28-year-old has been with the Eagles since signing as a rookie free agent in 2009, but has never played in a regular-season game. He spent the last three seasons as a member of the team's practice squad, save for a one-game promotion in 2009 in which he was deactivated for the game.
Under league rules, players cannot spend more than three seasons on a practice squad. Thus, Reynolds must either survive Friday's final roster cuts or perhaps give up his hope of playing in the NFL.
"My main focus is on Thursday's game," said Reynolds, who is married to Suzanne and has a 2-year-old daughter, Sharai. "I just have to keep playing as hard as I can. After the game, it's up to the guys upstairs (coach Andy Reid and general manager Howie Roseman) on what happens next for me."
Reynolds has an excellent chance of sticking around. The Eagles released veteran center Jamaal Jackson after last season, leaving Reynolds as the primary backup to starter Jason Kelce. He was the second-string center for the Eagles' first three preseason games and will start against the Jets while Kelce and the other starters rest.
But the Eagles have a lot of depth on the offensive line, even without starting left tackle Jason Peters, who was placed on the reserve non-football injury list Monday with a ruptured left Achilles' tendon.
The Eagles released free agent tackle Thomas Welch and rookie guard Alfred McCullough earlier this week, and placed free agent guard/center Mike Gibson on injured reserve. That left Reynolds as one of six linemen vying for three or four backup spots behind Kelce, guards Evan Mathis and Danny Watkins, and tackles King Dunlap and Todd Herremans.
That group includes free agent center/guard Steve Vallos, who previously played with Cleveland (2010-11) and Seattle (2008-09), and center/guard Julian Vandervelde, a fifth-round draft pick by the Eagles last season. They are expected to be the starting guards against the Jets, but can also play center in a pinch.
"I honestly have no idea how I made this team last year because I was horrible," said Vandervelde, who was inactive for all but one game. "If I was the one making the decisions, I would have cut me after the second preseason game because I flat out stunk. But I've been really pleased with the progress I've made since then. I'm excited for Thursday's game because I get a chance to show the growth and development I've made personally."
If Vandervelde doesn't make the regular-season roster, he is a shoo-in to make the eight-man practice squad unless another team claims him off waivers.
Reynolds doesn't have that fallback plan.
"If it doesn't happen for me, my wife and I will sit down and talk about what's next," Reynolds said. "She has been incredibly supportive through this whole thing and made it very easy for me. One of my options is to go back to school at BYU. I'm four classes short of getting my degree in geography. My dad (Lance) is also an assistant coach there, so maybe coaching is something I could get into.
"But I haven't allowed myself to start thinking about life after football, yet. All of my focus and attention is on Thursday night and playing as well as I possibly can play. Then we'll see what happens."
Extra points: Reid announced Tuesday that he will rest all of his starters with the exception of new weakside linebacker Akeem Jordan, who will play one or two series. ... Rookie quarterback Nick Foles will start and play the first quarter, then veteran Trent Edwards will play the final three quarters. Mike Kafka, who is recovering from a broken left hand, will not play. ... Reid said Foles is the Eagles' No. 2 quarterback for "right now."
Contact David Weinberg: