DeMarco Murray sat out team drills during the first day of practice Sunday because of poor hydration levels, Eagles coach Chip Kelly said Tuesday. That ended the mystery of Murray's absence after the running back had said he did not know why the coaches held him back.
"We did a hydration status test and he was a little bit high and obviously when you see guys that are high from a hydration standpoint, then you kind of pull them back a little bit because that's when they are susceptible for an injury," Kelly said.
The Eagles' training staff monitors the hydration levels of every player each day. It is part of the effort to prevent injuries. Kelly said it did not matter that Sunday was the first day after a six-week layoff because a player's hydration level changes every day.
"He's probably the most conditioned athlete on our team, but if you don't drink the requisite amount of water and electrolytes and have them in your system, it doesn't matter how fit you are," Kelly said of Murray. "Especially the weather - that was a big factor for us, too. We have had back-to-back, and going into three, 90-degree days. . . .You don't want to lose a guy in the first day."
Inside linebackers Brad Jones and Brandon Hepburn are taking snaps with the outside linebackers after Travis Long was lost for the season because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. The injury occurred Monday during a non-contact, special-teams drill.
Long was a front-runner for the No. 3 outside linebacker spot, a key reserve in the Eagles defense.
Jones, 29, spent six years with the Packers and has experience at inside and outside linebacker. The Eagles valued his versatility when they signed him in the offseason.
"When they brought me in, I was always going to be a swing guy," Jones said. "Practice was pretty much the same. I was working outside today, the next day I'm sure I'll be inside."
The Eagles released undrafted rookie receiver Devante Davis and signed Josh Reese, an undrafted receiver from Central Florida.
They also waived Long as injured, according to a league source. If Long goes unclaimed, he would revert to the Eagles' injured reserve list. The transaction is mostly procedural; the Eagles needed to waive him so they could open a spot on the 90-man roster.
Brian Westbrook and Maxie Baughan will be inducted into the Eagles Hall of Fame on Oct. 19, when the team hosts the New York Giants.
The Eagles will wear a "60" decal on their helmets this season to honor the late Chuck Bednarik.