Eagles defensive tackle Tim Jernigan drew quite a crowd at his locker following practice Thursday and for good reason.
The Eagles placed defensive tackle Malik Jackson on injured reserve on Tuesday with a likely season-ending foot injury. That should make Jermogam’s role more pronounced. He now returns to the starting lineup alongside four-time All-Pro tackle Fletcher Cox.
It’s not as if this is a new role for Jernigan. He started alongside Cox for the 2017 Super Bowl team. A disk injury in his neck limited Jernigan to three regular-season and two playoff games last year. He was released in March because he was due to make $11 million and then re-signed in May. According to Spotrac.com, he is signed to a one-year, $2 million contract .
The Eagles signed Jackson to a three-year, $30 million contract. Now Jernigan is back in the starting lineup, although he was slated to have an important role either way.
Jackson was hurt in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 32-27 win over the Washington Redskins. Jernigan appeared in 25 plays, or 37 percent of the defensive snaps and recorded the Eagles’ lone sack on Sunday.
“Whatever they need me to do ... I am going to do it and not complain about anything,” Jernigan said. “Whenever my number is called, I’ve just got to make sure I am ready.”
Jernigan, who didn’t make his debut last year until a 25-22 home win on Nov. 25 over the New York Giants, says that being in training camp this year was a big plus. He says being healthy is the biggest key.
“It feels good,” he said. “It was a long journey, I had to go through some things and see some things. At the end of the day it is all behind me and I am ready to move forward with my career and help the team.”
The 6-foot-2, 295 pound Jernigan will turn 27 on Sept. 24. He is known for his boundless energy.
“He is loco, he is crazy out there,” defensive end Vinny Curry said with a laugh. Then turning serious, Curry added, “You can always count on him, though.”
With Sunday’s 8:20 p.m. start in Atlanta, the Eagles look to continue a recent trend of being accomplished prime-time players.
According to statistics provided by the Eagles, since 2016 they rank third in the NFL in prime-time winning percentage, including playoffs. During that time they are 12-4 (.750).
The top two teams are New England (17-5, .773) and Seattle (11-3-1, .767)
“I like playing prime time,” right tackle Lane Johnson said. “You get to show everybody all the hard work we have put in.”
Cornerback Ajene Harris was signed Thursday to the Eagles practice squad.
A rookie out of USC, Harris participated in a spring Eagle rookie camp on a tryout basis, but didn’t sign with the team until Aug. 6. He was cut on Aug. 30.
“When they let me go that Friday, they said stick around and see if I would be put on the practice squad,” Harris said after his first practice.
He returned to Los Angeles to continue training. Then Harris got the call on Wednesday and took a red-eye to Philadelphia. “I stayed positive,” Harris said. “I went back to L.A. to keep working out and training and this opportunity came.”