Shelton Gibson was literally sitting on his couch when the Eagles called this week.
The same Eagles drafted him in the fifth round out of West Virginia in 2017. The same Eagles played him in 25 regular season and playoff games in his first two seasons. The same Eagles waived him in August.
Gibson, 24, spent the entire 2019 season on the Cleveland Browns’ practice squad. He thought his entire third NFL season had come and gone without any game action.
And now he’s going to suit up in Sunday’s playoff game at the Linc.
“It’s super exciting,” Gibson said. “The whole year on the practice squad … I don’t even know how to explain it. It’s amazing.”
While Gibson will offer depth at the receiver position, where the Eagles have been decimated by injuries and now have a rookie and three former practice squad members, his main role will be on special teams. During his time in Philly, he excelled as a gunner on the punt team. The Eagles used one of their open roster spots thank to injury to solidify the special teams unit.
Gibson this week wasn’t much interesting in talking about his year in Cleveland. He just said it’s a blessing to be back and that he’s a different guy now than when he left and it has more to do with just the number chance from 18 to 83.
“I take the game way, way, way more serious just because being on the practice squad the whole year, it’s a different perspective not playing on Sundays,” he said. “I haven’t played since the Saints last year, the playoff game. Gotta switch it. Gotta switch it from a practice squad mentality to a game mentality.”
During the first two years of his career, Gibson didn’t have much of an impact offensively. He has a total of three catches for 59 yards. Last season, he had a 48-yarder that was his only reception in 15 games.
But Gibson was able to carve out a role on special teams. In 2018, he played 151 special teams snaps in the regular season (35 percent) and another 10 in the playoffs.
Thanks to an ankle injury in the summer, Gibson didn’t play in the Eagles’ first preseason game and he was waived a few days later. He didn’t get to Cleveland until September. So the last game Gibson played was the divisional round loss to the Saints last year.
It’s been nearly a full calendar year since Gibson has been in a football game. And how he’s heading back to the playoffs.
“It’s a big blessing,” he said.
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