The Eagles signed Jordan Howard to the active roster Wednesday, keeping the veteran running back eligible to play on game days.
After spending the first nine weeks of the season on the practice squad, Howard earned his way onto the 53-man roster with strong performances in the team’s last two games. The 27-year-old has given the Eagles’ offense a jolt as it transitions to a run-heavy scheme. He has 128 rushing yards on 29 attempts and three touchdowns in the last two games, having been called up from the practice squad before each game.
“He’s done his job when he’s went in there,” coach Nick Sirianni said Wednesday. “He’s hit the holes nice and downhill. And he’s a big man [6-foot, 228 pounds). And to have to tackle him 17 times in a game, that will wear a defense down. And so, he’s just given us a good spark there in the run game and the way that he runs hard and he’s just being himself.”
Because of the NFL’s new rules regarding practice-squad players, Howard wasn’t eligible to get the weekend promotion more than twice, meaning the team had to elevate him in order for him to dress.
Howard has endured a turbulent stretch after starting his career as a featured back with the Chicago Bears and even making the Pro Bowl in 2016 after rushing for 1,313 yards as a fifth-round rookie out of Indiana. Before the 2019 season, Chicago traded him to the Eagles, where he spent half the year as the starting back before an injury and an expanded role for Miles Sanders led to a diminished workload.
He signed with the Miami Dolphins as a free agent in 2020 but played just five games before he was released, and returned to the Eagles trying to get his career back on track. The Eagles cleared a roster spot for him by waiving cornerback Mac McCain, who has rejoined the Denver Broncos.
When Sanders was placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury suffered against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 7, Howard got his opportunity and capitalized. Sanders isn’t eligible to return from IR until after this Sunday’s game against the Broncos, meaning Howard will likely continue to have a prominent role in the offense.
“He’s a beast,” right tackle Lane Johnson said. “He runs hard, he’s always falling forward, he has a lot of power when he runs, and he’s a great pass protector. He doesn’t say a whole lot, he moves in silence, but he’s a great back, man. He has been for a long time.”