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Jeff Lurie ‘very optimistic' Isaiah Rodgers will be cleared soon after year-long suspension

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Jeff Lurie said he’s “very optimistic” the NFL will clear cornerback Isaiah Rodgers to return to the NFL very soon following his year-long suspension for violating the league’s gambling policy.

The Colts released Rodgers last summer immediately after the league suspended him. The Eagles signed him just before the regular season opened, even though they knew he wouldn’t be allowed to play the entire 2023 season and wasn’t even allowed in the NovaCare Complex. He wasn’t paid and didn’t count against the salary cap.

The suspension was open-ended, but according to league rules Rodgers was able to petition for reinstatement after the Super Bowl. And while it’s not clear if or when he did, Lurie said at the NFL owners meetings in Orlando Tuesday he expects Rodgers to be cleared soon.

“I'm hopeful,” Lurie said. “Very hopeful. He's a key part of our planning going forward and you know it was a smart move by Howie (Roseman) to acquire Isaiah and very optimistic he'll be fully on board very soon.”

In an interview on ESPN’s Outside the Lines that was broadcast in February, Rodgers said the bets he placed were for friends and members of his family who couldn’t legally place bets because of where they lived.

"Just trying to help friends and family out, just knowing that it wasn't legal at the time in Florida and it was in Indiana," Rodgers said.

"At the end of the day I knew the rules, I wasn't supposed to do it and I got to take what comes with it.”

If Rodgers is cleared, he could be a significant addition to a secondary that’s in flux. 

Since the season ended, the Eagles have released safety Kevin Byard and slot corner Avonte Maddox and declined to re-sign slot corner Bradley Roby and opening-day starting safety Justin Evans and also signed safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson.

In addition, James Bradberry’s future remains uncertain after a disastrous 2023 season and Darius Slay is 33. 

The Eagles ranked 31st in the NFL in pass defense last year.

Rodgers, who turned 26 in January, was the Colts’ 6th-round pick out of UMass in 2020. In three seasons in Indy, he played in 45 games, starting 10. He had three interceptions in 2021 and four fumble recoveries in 2022. He also had a 101-yard kickoff return for a touchdown as a rookie in 2020.

Rodgers is primarily an outside corner. He played 948 defensive snaps in his three years in Indianapolis, and according to PFF only 31 were in the slot. 

Rookies Kelee Ringo and Eli Ricks showed some promise last year, and as of now Slay, Bradberry, Ringo, Ricks and Rodgers are in the mix at outside corner.

Rodgers signed a four-year, $3.44 million contract when the Colts drafted him in the sixth round of the 2020 draft. He was due to make $2.7 million this year.

Rodgers’ Pro Football Focus grade of 82.1 was tied for 5th-highest among 82 cornerbacks who played at least 250 snaps last year. His 81.5 coverage grade was 6th-highest, and his 75.5 run defense grade was 20th-highest.

Rodgers has recently been posting workout videos and highlights from his days with the Colts on social media.

“Damn, I’m ready man,” he posted last week.

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