BEAU ALLEN was ready to contend for the starting role vacated when defensive tackle Bennie Logan left in free agency for Kansas City. Then, in early April, something went wrong in the weight room during a routine lift.
Now, as his Eagles teammates take the field for the first round of organized team activities, Allen watches. He carries a red vertical scar up near his left shoulder, the aftermath of surgery to repair a torn pectoral tendon. A source close to the situation has said Allen probably won't be ready to play before mid-September.
In the meantime, the Eagles have moved on. The day before Allen was injured, they traded for a more accomplished defensive tackle, Tim Jernigan, from Baltimore. After Allen went down, they drafted athletic Elijah Qualls from Washington in the sixth round. Before Allen got hurt, there were talks toward a new contract to replace his 2014 rookie deal. No deal has materialized.
"I'm just looking at things day-to-day," Allen said this week. He said he wasn't focused on a timetable, but "I'm feeling good. I'm way ahead of schedule."
As for maybe losing his chance to move up from substitute status, Allen said: "That's kind of the nature of the game in the NFL. They have to do what they have to do, and I have to do what I have to do. When you're a player and you strap it on, you accept those eventualities."
Allen, 25, said he didn't want to go into detail about how he was injured, but he said he wasn't doing anything unusual or unsafe.
"I don't think there's anything I could have done. That kind of (stuff) just happens," he said.
Allen was drafted as a 3-4 nose tackle in 2014's seventh round, but he adjusted well to playing 4-3 tackle in Jim Schwartz's scheme last season. He has played in all 48 Eagles games since he entered the league, and in 2016 he was on the field for a career-high 412 snaps, 40 percent of the unit's total.
With Allen sidelined and Fletcher Cox skipping this week's voluntary work, the starting defensive tackles when OTAs began were Jernigan and Destiny Vaeao, last season's undrafted rookie.