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Report: Jordan Howard out of Eagles-Patriots, Jay Ajayi will play Sunday

The Eagles' 2017 trade deadline catalyst hasn't played or practiced in more than 13 months, but he's expected to be on the field vs. New England.

Eagles running back Jay Ajayi (left) with running backs coach Duce Staley before a game in 2017.
Eagles running back Jay Ajayi (left) with running backs coach Duce Staley before a game in 2017.Read moreCLEM MURRAY / Staff Photographer

It seems almost inconceivable that running back Jay Ajayi, who hasn’t played or practiced since he suffered an ACL tear on Oct. 7, 2018 against the Vikings, will have much of a role Sunday when the Eagles face the New England Patriots at the Linc.

But ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported late Saturday night that Jordan Howard, the Eagles’ leading rusher, will miss the game while recovering from a stinger suffered two weeks ago against the Chicago Bears, and that Ajayi, signed Friday, will play.

With Darren Sproles and Corey Clement on injured reserve, the No. 1 back Sunday should be rookie Miles Sanders, with Boston Scott also available. The Eagles could have brought up practice squad running back DeAngelo Henderson this weekend, and waited until Monday to make Ajayi’s signing official, but they opted against doing that, after working out Ajayi.

Ajayi, now 26, came to the Eagles at the 2017 trade deadline and ran for 408 yards on 71 carries in seven games. He ran for 184 yards on 42 carries in the three playoff games, including Super Bowl LII.

Ajayi was No. 36 his first year with the Eagles, No. 26 last season. This time around, both of those numbers are taken, so he is wearing No. 28.