Brandon Graham, last year's number one pick, indicated Wednesday that coaches might hold him out of the Eagles' remaining games as he comes back from microfracture surgery last December.
"I figure, it's three games, four games left, they want me for the long haul, so it's probably like – next year," Graham said. He has been on the 53-man roster since week 9, but has only played in two games -- Nov. 7 and 13. He has practiced but hasn't played a snap since then (he was inactive three times and dressed but didn't get on the field against Seattle).
It's worth noting that Graham doesn't necessarily know what his coaches have planned and the Eagles have not officially ruled him out. Graham thought he was going to play Sunday and was told before warm ups that he would be inactive. Coach Andy Reid said Wednesday that Graham looked better last week than the week before -- though his decision on the player didn't reflect that. Graham was inactive against the Dolphins. The week before he at least dressed, even though he didn't play.
Graham said he feels healthy and that he could play, but that coaches probably don't want to risk further injury, especially with the way Steve Smith's season suddenly ended. The receiver was also coming back from microfracture surgery.
"I'm disappointed, but at the same time, I'm not really worried about it because I understand what they're trying to do," Graham said.
He is well aware, though, of how his injury looks to fans who are already worried that last year's top pick may have been a mistake, especially when they see defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul tear up offenses for the Giants. Pierre-Paul was drafted two slots after Graham.
"That boy been balling," he said. "I can't say nothing, other than control what I can and that's get better and live up to my expectations."
Graham knows Pierre-Paul's numbers: 12.5 sacks, a big blocked field goal last week.
"It's tough for me going through it because I've got to live with it," Graham said, referring to the expectations and comparisons. At times, he doesn't even want to go out because he knows the questions he will face from fans.
Graham had three sacks as a rookie, but his second season was effectively lost when he tore his ACL Dec. 12, 2010. Most players need a year to come back from microfracture surgery. Smith was also a shell of his old self this year.
Graham said he will continue to practice and hopes to play, but isn't sure if he will get another chance this year.
"If I make it to the playoffs, I'm sure I'll play then, but right now, I just see that they'll probably say that there's not a point even for him to get out there," he said.
The Eagles may need an additional defensive end this week because Darryl Tapp is dealing with a broken rib and coach Andy Reid said he might not be able to play. If Graham sits again, Juqua Parker would be in line to take Tapp's place, assuming Phillip Hunt remains part of the rotation as well.
-- Michael Vick (ribs) was sore from the game Sunday and coach Andy Reid did not say for sure that the quarterback would practice. "We'll see," he said, but indicated that he's confident Vick will be able to play Sunday.