Michael Bennett, Darren Sproles only veterans absent at OTAs


As the Eagles kick off their organized team activities on Tuesday morning, there are just two players absent. 

Defensive lineman Michael Bennett and running back Darren Sproles aren’t on hand for the start of the voluntary workouts, head coach Doug Pederson said. 

“But we’ve communicated with them, we’ve stayed in touch with them,” Pederson said. “Sound like a broken record, but it is a voluntary program and two guys that I don’t have a lot of concern as far as their ability to help us win games because they’re veteran players and they know how to get themselves ready to go.”

Two guys absent out of 90 isn’t bad at all and Pederson seemed encouraged by the turnout. Earlier this spring, he was hopeful players wouldn’t relax too much as the team returns from winning a Super Bowl. 

It is noteworthy that Sproles and Bennett are missing, though. Sproles is recovering from a torn ACL and Bennett is a newcomer to Jim Schwartz’s defense. Sproles at least already knows the offense and how things work in Philly. 

Pederson said Bennett’s absence is unrelated to his pending criminal charges in Texas. Bennett’s next court date isn’t scheduled until June 27. While Bennett isn’t at the start of OTAs, Pederson does expect him to show up at some point. 

The head coach didn’t seem concerned about Bennett’s missing while he tries to learn a new defense. 

“I really don’t have any concern going forward with him, acclimating himself to the defense,” Pederson said. “You’ve been around long enough to be around Jim’s style and what we teach and it fits his strength and that’s roll off the ball as a D-lineman. It’s just a matter of getting him in here and around his teammates.” 

The Eagles’ first round of OTAs runs Tuesday through Thursday. They’ll be back on the field for OTAs for the next few weeks before the mandatory minicamp in mid-June. Because of expected rain, Tuesday’s practice will be held inside the team’s practice bubble at the NovaCare Complex. 

Carson Wentz will be on the practice field with his teammates during OTAs, but is still in rehab mode (see story). There are other injured players who won’t be able to practice, like Brandon Graham, too (see observations).

Even some players who aren’t injured will be brought along slowly by Pederson after the short offseason following the Super Bowl. 

“We’ll do our best to manage some guys,” Pederson said. “We have a list of injured players and guys we want to make sure we rest during this time. You gotta understand that we’re a month later and so our full recovery time has been less. That’s something you have to understand. From that standpoint, I have to do my job and be smart with how we handle some of our veteran players.”

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