Sweat details scary incident that kept him out of playoff game


Josh Sweat initially tried to downplay the serious condition that kept him out of January’s playing game, saying he just had a “little bit” of internal bleeding.

Then he caught himself.

“Not a little bit … a lot,” Sweat said.

The Eagles’ Pro Bowl edge rusher was held out of the playoff loss in Tampa with what the team then called a “life-threatening situation” and hadn’t spoken publicly to reporters since that loss until Tuesday afternoon.

Heck, you probably forgot all about this incident. But it was a scary moment for Sweat.

Then still just 24, Sweat was sitting at his home when he began to feel lightheaded. Strange, he thought, because he was well-hydrated. Then he stood up and his abdomen felt heavy. That’s when he knew something was wrong.

“It just came out of nowhere. Don’t really know how,” Sweat said. “There’s no signs, it just kind of happened.”

Sweat went to the hospital and was admitted the Tuesday before the wild card game; doctors found that one of his arteries had “opened up a little bit,” which was the cause of the internal bleeding. When asked if the injury was football-related, all Sweat could say was that he didn’t know how it happened and that it didn’t become an issue on the football field.

Sweat said doctors cauterized the leaky artery, closing it up. He made it sound like a simple procedure, like taking out the trash, and maybe it is … but it doesn’t make it any less scary.

“I didn’t actually know what was happening until they said and then it was scary until it wasn’t,” he said. “It was just like we can just do this, couple minute fix.”

Officially, Sweat was listed as questionable heading into the wild card weekend. He thinks he could have played in that game but it wasn’t up to him and the Eagles kept him out. Sweat believes that had the Eagles beaten the Buccaneers — they lost 31-15 — he would have been able to play in the divisional round.

The good news is that doctors have told Sweat there’s not a fear of the injury recurring. The bad news is that the pain of missing a playoff game has taken longer to heal than a leaky artery.

“It was big for me, for sure,” Sweat said. “But I don’t want to just hold on to it. I just approach the offseason the same way, trying to improve however I can, stay available.”

Sweat early last season signed a three-year contract extension worth $40 million. Then he began to live up to it.

Last season was a good one for Sweat. For the first time in his career, he became a true starter and he finished with career highs in sacks (7.5), tackles (45) and quarterback hits (13).

Initially a Pro Bowl alternate, Sweat was named to his first Pro Bowl roster when 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa was forced to bail because of injury. By February, Sweat’s leaky artery and repair had healed enough to participate in his first Pro Bowl; he had two tackles in the game.

“I just felt like the little guy. That’s motivation too,” Sweat said. “It was great to be around them, a lot of great guys. I got to speak to them and see how their mindset was. It was great. But it was also motivation because, you know, I just want to make it straight up. I don’t want to wait my turn to see if I’m going to get in. It was great though. It was a great experience.”

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