PHILADELPHIA — Eagles guard Brandon Brooks wasn’t having it. Brooks suffered a torn Achilles tendon in the Eagles’ 20-14 playoff loss at New Orleans on Jan. 13.
He wasn’t expected to be ready to practice when training camp opened at the NovaCare Complex on Thursday. Yet, there he was.
“I’m extremely excited that they had the confidence in me and that I had the confidence in myself to come out here and move around today,” Brooks said Thursday.
Brooks, one of the league’s top interior offensive linemen, did not participate in 11-on-11 drills but went through individual work. Halapoulivaati Vaitai took the reps at right guard with the first-team offense, but Brooks hopes to be line up next to right tackle Lane Johnson when the Eagles start their regular season against Washington on Sept. 8.
“People were saying that I might miss the entire 2019 season,” Brooks said. “To me there was never a doubt. I don’t know if I’ll be ready for the first game, but if not, within the first couple.”
The 6-foot-5, 346-pounder took an aggressive approach with his rehab. He sought out players who had suffered the same injury and spoke with Eagles tackle Jason Peters and former Houston Texans teammate Adrian Foster. Peters tore his Achilles tendon twice during the 2012 offseason and did not play at all that year.
“I wanted to do everything I could to help myself get back on the field,” Brooks said.
The Eagles plan to take a conservative approach with Brooks and the other players nursing injuries. Brooks is among a group of players who will be eased back into action.
Cornerback Ronald Darby, defensive end Derek Barnett, linebacker Nigel Bradham, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and safety Rodney McLeod sat out team drills Thursday.
Cornerback Jalen Mills is the only player not practicing at all. He was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list Thursday morning. According to ESPN.com, safety Blake Countess and cornerback Cre’Von LeBlanc did not practice Friday.
Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz explained in a live-streamed news conference that Le’Blanc’s absence was injury-related but did not get specific.
“We’re missing some guys, but it is what it is,” Schwartz said. “It’s just life in training camp. I think I’d rather them be missing now than be missing during the season, so you have to take that kind of approach when guys are coming back from injuries, not try to rush them or get them out there too soon.”
Peters told NBC Sports Philadelphia he is fully recovered from the injuries that hampered his performance last season. The 37-year-old started all 16 regular-season games and both playoff contests but played only 79% of the offensive snaps due to a sprained medial collateral ligament and a torn biceps.
The Eagles re-signed the nine-time Pro Bowler to a one-year contract in March worth up to $10 million.
“I’m going to play for as long as I can,” Peters told NBC Sports Philadelphia Friday. “As long as I can do it, I’m gonna go, whether it’s tackle or guard. I feel better this year than last year. Last year, I was 60 to 70%. This year is a bounce-back year for me.”