Add wide receiver DeSean Jackson to the list of Philadelphia Eagles players who have suffered an injury while at practice in training camp.
Jackson hurt his left ankle during a seven-on-seven drill when he was hit by safeties Kurt Coleman and Jaiquawn Jarrett. He left practice to get his ankle taped and did not return to action, although he stayed on the practice field.
Jackson did not comment on his injury but he did give a thumbs up to indicate that he was okay.
The Jackson injury is not a big deal. I know he’ll be fine. Maybe he’ll miss a day but not likely. However, I constantly worry about the 5’9, 170-pound wide receiver suffering a serious injury that prevents him from playing football this season.
I can say with complete confidence that I think the Eagles should prevent Jackson from taking any hits at training camp. I couldn’t be more serious. He is the most important wide receiver and his size puts him in jeopardy every time he takes a hit.
Quarterback Michael Vick doesn’t take any hits in practice. He’ll barely take any hits during preseason games. And yet he’ll be perfectly fine when the season starts.
The same should apply to DeSean Jackson. I don’t care if the rest of the team doesn’t like head coach Andy Reid making an exception with his most important wide receiver. Do it anyway. I think the team would rather have Jackson healthy than risk him potentially suffer an injury in a contact drill in practice.
Would he be ready for the season if he didn’t take any hits in training camp and barely any in the preseason? You know he would. No one was concerned about Jackson needing training camp last year when he held out because of a contract dispute.
This isn’t something I would suggest with a normal number one wide receiver. I would have let Terrell Owens take hits in 2004 and 2005. I would let Calvin Johnson and Andre Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald take hits.
I’m okay with LeSean McCoy getting hit. He’s even more valuable than Jackson but he doesn’t have an injury-plagued career and he doesn’t weigh 170.
But not Jackson. It’s not that he’s a wimp. He’s an NFL player so he can’t be a wimp. But I don’t need him getting popped by Jaiquawn Jarrett or Kurt Coleman on a crossing route.
Sometimes you need to make special exceptions for special players in special times, and the entire 2012 season has that special feeling where the Eagles can’t afford for anything major to go wrong.
The Eagles should allow Jackson to practice but because of his size and importance, he shouldn’t be hit at all until the season begins.
This article was written by Bryn Swartz, the top writer for the Philadelphia Eagles and a featured NFL columnist on Rant Sports. Bryn has written more than 1000 articles in less than two years as a member of Rant Sports. His blog, Eagles Central, was named the 2010 Ballhyped Sports Blog of the Year. To read a portfolio of Bryn’s best work, click here.