Jamaal Jackson and Leonard Weaver are veteran leaders for the Eagles, solid citizens, vital cogs.
Weaver, the fullback, played in the Pro Bowl after last season, after bailing out a team that had no short-yardage running game.
The coaching staff was actively encouraging Jackson, the center, to play in yesterday's opener, a little more than 8 months after ACL surgery, because he is so smooth at recognizing defensive aligments and getting the offensive line synched up.
Neither Jackson (torn right biceps) nor Weaver (left ACL) is likely to play football again this season. We'll have to see what that means for the Eagles. It certainly isn't good.
Weaver went down on a play that began with 12 minutes and 6 seconds remaining in the second quarter, his first carry of the season, leaning forward as linebacker Nick Barnett bent his leg backward, grotesquely.
"He's a phenomenal guy. He's a phenomenal player, and a phenomenal guy," Eagles coach Andy Reid said. "That was a very ugly looking injury the way I saw it from the sideline. I could tell right away, and I started walking out on the field almost before the play was over, the way it got hyperextended."
The Eagles don't have a real second fullback. Utility back Eldra Buckley, mainly a special-teams player, can fill in at fullback and did yesterday, catching a 10-yard pass but then allowing Charles Woodson to punch it out of his grasp for a fumble.
Reid said he will meet with general manager Howie Roseman. It would be a shock if the Birds don't add a fullback when they IR Weaver; practice squad tight end Garrett Mills has some experience there.
Jackson went down on a play that started with 8:27 left. It isn't clear what happened. Jackson wasn't available afterward; left guard Todd Herremans said he saw his friend walking off the field with his arm dangling limply at his side. Jackson missed the 2004 season with a torn triceps, but he had started 71 games in a row at center before tearing his left ACL last Dec. 27 vs. Denver.
Mike McGlynn, who started at center the entire preseason, subbed for Jackson and seemed to do well. Nick Cole, starting at right guard right now, has been the backup center in seasons past. With Reggie Wells available now at right guard, it will be interesting to see if the Birds stick with McGlynn or go to Cole in the middle, long term.
"Right now, it would be Mike," Reid said.
"You wait for an opportunity, it comes up, you have to make the best of it," McGlynn said.
There was talk during last week that McGlynn might play some for Jackson, who was seeing game action for the first time since his ACL surgery, because Jackson's rebuilt left knee might get fatigued.
"There was really a lot of question with Jack coming back. I was just preparing myself to play," said McGlynn, a fourth-round pick in 2008 who had played in just three NFL games before yesterday. "It's a tough thing what happened to Jamaal. I feel sorry for him. That's a tough way. I've had a season-ending injury before. I just know what he's going through, it's a hard thing to deal with."
Asked if he thinks the job is now his, McGlynn said: "We'll see. My job now is to take advantage of the opportunity. What I do with it is what it'll be."