Duke Riley’s words betrayed how strange this was. He had just finished his first practice as an Eagle, a couple of weeks after Riley and his Atlanta Falcons defeated the visiting Eagles, 24-20, giving rise to a viral video that showed Riley leading his then-teammates in a wild dancing celebration.
“That was my first time beating them. Beating the Eagles. Beating us,” Riley said, finally alighting upon the correct pronoun.
Riley, a 25-year-old linebacker relegated to special teams in Atlanta after suffering knee and groin injuries over the past few seasons, said his reaction was “shock” when Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff called him.
“T.D. said Philly called, they needed a linebacker, [Falcons] needed a safety,” Riley said. So Riley packed for Philly and safety Johnathan Cyprien headed for Atlanta, the teams also swapping draft choices — an Eagles seventh next spring going for an Atlanta sixth.
Riley said his immediate thoughts were of uprooting his fiancée and their son.
“I’m good regardless,” Riley said. “I can adapt to anything, any surroundings.”
He said he took a top-30 visit to NovaCare before the 2017 draft, thought the Eagles would take him, before the Falcons made him the 75th overall selection, in the third round, from LSU. So getting traded was more of a surprise than the destination.
“It was good for me to have a fresh start. It’s like coming into the NFL again, but I’m better because I know what to expect,” said Riley, listed at 6-foot-1, 218.
“I have fun, no matter what. I’m gonna dance, I’m gonna be loud. I’m gonna dance again. That’s just who I am,” he said.
Corner Cre’Von LeBlanc said when asked if he would be ready when eligible to come off IR following the Buffalo game Week 8, “that’s the plan.” LeBlanc has only been doing rehab of his foot injury, isn’t in playing shape yet. He went down the first day of training camp. “I gotta catch up,” he said.
There was no word from fellow corner Jalen Mills (foot) who is eligible to come off PUP in two weeks. Mills hasn’t played since last Oct. 28.
Wide receiver DeSean Jackson isn’t practicing as he continues to rehab his abdominal injury, suffered Week 2. On Instagram, Jackson posted a photo with the comment, “Minor set bac[sic] for a major come bac[sic] !!,” with no further explanation.
Given the location of the injury, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Jackson’s recovery took six weeks or so.
Eagles coach Doug Pederson seemed to hold the door open to corner Sidney Jones (hamstring) playing against the Jets this week, and Jones was listed as a partial practice participant Wednesday. Also getting that listing was defensive end Derek Barnett, who apparently suffered a groin injury against the Packers.