Eagles safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson is expected to miss some time after suffering a lacerated kidney on Sunday night, a league source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark.
NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero first reported the news.
The good news is that Gardner-Johnson’s injury is not expected to keep him out the rest of the season. While it’s unclear when he’ll return, Gardner-Johnson wrote in an Instagram post Monday, “Passionate about what I do, I’ll Be Back!”
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Gardner-Johnson, 24, was injured in the first quarter of the Eagles’ 40-33 win over the Packers on Sunday night. He put a big hit on receiver Christian Watson but took the brunt of it himself.
The Eagles used undrafted rookie Reed Blankenship to replace Gardner-Johnson. Blankenship made some big plays, including six tackles and one great interception. But he also took a bad angle on a deep touchdown play from Watson a bit later.
While the Eagles will definitely miss Gardner-Johnson, they seem to have faith in Blankenship, who at least played like he belonged. Their other backup options are K’Von Wallace and Andre Chachere.
“Very confident,” starting safety Marcus Epps said. “I know Reed’s going to come to work and he’s going to do his job. Very confident.”
The Eagles traded for Gardner-Johnson just before the start of the 2022 season. They gave away two Day 3 draft picks to New Orleans to get Gardner-Johnson, who is in the final year of his rookie contract.
Through 12 weeks of the season, Gardner-Johnson has six interceptions to lead the NFL. While not all of his interceptions have been truly great plays, he’s shown the ability to be a ballhawk in the Eagles secondary. He also has 60 tackles and a sack in 2022.
It seems very likely the Eagles will want to re-sign him beyond this season.
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