Patterson had been suffering from complications following offseason brain surgery that threatened to end his career. It all began in August of 2011, when Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Mike Patterson suffered a seizure. He missed a part of training camp but rebounded to play in 15 of the 16 games that season.
The 29-year old defensive tackle was originally expected to miss the entire 2012 season due to complications from offseason brain surgery, all the result of his seizure more than a year ago. It was revealed that Patterson had a brain AVM (arteriovenus malformation), which was potentially life threatening; but, he was able to postpone his surgery to untangle the blood vessels in his brain until after the season. He suffered from complications following the surgery, as the wound did not initially heal.
Now Patterson is back and ready to contribute to a struggling Eagles team that has lost three straight games, twice by defensive collapses late in the fourth quarter and once by a total defensive meltdown. That said, it’s not as if the offense is playing well either – the whole team has struggled since the Eagles were considered one of the top teams in the league after their week four victory over the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants improved them to 3-1.
I would expect the Eagles to slowly work Patterson back into their rotation, which has been struggling all season.
He had been a starter ever since he was drafted in the first round in 2005, but at age 29, it’s not likely that he’ll ever be a starter again. That’s because rookie first-round pick Fletcher Cox is currently the team’s best defensive tackle. Struggling veteran Cullen Jenkins started all of last season. Derek Landri is still receiving about 30 snaps per game, although he’s not playing nearly as well in 2012 as he did in 2011. Cedric Thornton is playing at a very high level this season, and is one of my darkhorses to end the season as a starter (or had been, since I didn’t think Patterson would come back at all in 2012).
In seven seasons with the Eagles, Patterson has played in 110 games and collected 252 tackles, 15.5 sacks, eight fumble recoveries (one for a 98-yard touchdown), five passes defensed, four forced fumbles, and an interception. He is the longest-tenured player on the Eagles, tied with offensive lineman Todd Herremans and defensive end Trent Cole. Technically, Patterson is the longest-tenured member of the team since he was drafted in the first round in the 2005 draft.
His return to the Eagles is pretty incredible, considering I didn’t expect him to ever play again in the NFL. He had brain surgery during the offseason, recovered from complications, and missed just seven games in 2012. What an inspirational story.
In case you missed it, here are 15 bold predictions for the second half of the 2012 Eagles season, as well as five reasons why you can’t blame Michael Vick for the Eagles’ failures.