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Sydney Brown still very optimistic in recovery from torn ACL

Eagles defensive backs Sydney Brown and Zech McPhearson are still very optimistic as they recover from their injuries.

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Just three months after his rookie season in the NFL ended with an ACL tear, Eagles safety Sydney Brown is still feeling extremely optimistic about his recovery.

Brown, 24, tore his ACL in Week 18 against the Giants on Jan. 7 but already feels like he’s ahead of schedule in his rehab.

“I feel amazing. I can start working out for you right now if you want to,” Brown said to NBC10 earlier this week with a smile. “I feel great. I’ve been kind of in and out of Philly. I’ve been working out with the trainers at my home school in Illinois. (Senior athletic trainer) Jerome (Reid) and (VP of sports medicine/head athletic trainer) Tom (Hunkele) and the crew have been working real hard with me. I feel like I’m miles ahead of where I should really be. I will be ready for when the season comes around.”

Ready for the season opener?

Brown said he can’t guarantee anything but even shortly after the season ended, he was already talking about being ready for the start of his second season. That seems like a lofty goal because of how late in the season he suffered the injury, but a little positivity can go a long way.

Brown spoke at an Eagles Autism Foundation event earlier this week along with his teammate Zech McPhearson. The event was in conjunction with Nouryon, which announced a matching gift donation of $260,000 to the foundation. McPhearson tore his Achilles in the preseason so he’s had much longer to heal up. He'll definitely be ready for the season.

“I’m feeling a lot better,” McPhearson said. “It’s been a long recovery process. Still a little bit to go but I’ll be ready for this upcoming season. That’s what I’m really excited about. Being back on the field with the guys. New year and a new team, so it should be a fun year to watch.”

The Eagles this offseason brought back C.J. Gardner-Johnson as a starting safety and then extended Reed Blankenship through the 2025 season. So it’s not like Brown is going to be handed a starting job when he’s healthy. But the 2023 third-round pick still seems to have a bright future.

As a rookie, Brown played in 14 games with 6 starts and saw a total of 335 snaps on defense for a team that has seemed hesitant to play rookies the last few years. He was also a special teams contributor. We saw a flash of Brown’s play-making ability in Week 17 when he had a 99-yard pick-6 against the Cardinals but then he suffered that torn ACL the next week.

Last season, McPhearson was supposed to be the Eagles’ backup nickel cornerback behind Avonte Maddox before his season-ending injury in the preseason. The Eagles could have really used McPhearson in 2023 because after Maddox got hurt in Week 2, it kicked off a revolving door of slot corner replacements.

McPhearson, 26, is entering his fourth and final season on his rookie contract as a fourth-round pick out of Texas Tech in 2021. He’ll have to compete for a roster spot this summer. But he was a huge special teams contributor in each of his first two seasons in the NFL. As long as he can provide depth on defense and help out Michael Clay’s unit, he has a good chance to make the team.

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