Paul Worrilow, a free-agent veteran the Eagles signed this offseason, collided with fellow linebacker Corey Nelson and running back Donnel Pumphrey during drills Tuesday at the NovaCare Complex and crumpled to the turf. A source close to Worrilow confirmed an NFL Network report that he had suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Presumably, this ends Worrilow's season, on the first day of full-squad spring work, and on the same day of the Eagles' release of linebacker Mychal Kendricks. The Eagles' thinnest position during their Super Bowl run gained substantial depth during the offseason. Tuesday's events would seem to send the team back to square one.
Worrilow, 28, stayed down, seemingly in pain, as team orthopedist Peter DeLuca probed his right knee. Teammates then helped Worrilow onto a cart and he was taken away for treatment.
"We were in a zone coverage. We both broke on the ball," Nelson said. "All three of us just collided" as Pumphrey tried to catch the pass from Nate Sudfeld. "It happened so fast, something you just can't really stop or prevent from happening. His leg kind of ran into my back."
Nelson is also a veteran free-agent signee, from Denver. He agreed this was not a great way to launch his Eagles career. "It's a tough thing, but it's the game we play," Nelson said.
The Eagles practiced indoors because of showers in South Philadelphia, an arrangement coach Doug Pederson conceded would be "snug" with a 90-man spring roster.
Worrilow is a self-made player from Wilmington who walked on at Delaware, then became one of the Blue Hens' all-time greats. He went undrafted in 2013, signed with the Falcons, and then led them in tackles in his first three NFL seasons. He left Atlanta after playing in the Super Bowl LI loss to New England, and spent last season with Detroit.
Worrilow wasn't projected as an Eagles starter after signing a one-year, $880,000 deal in March, but he was expected to provide solid depth and special-teams help as a backup to middle linebacker Jordan Hicks, who has suffered two serious injuries in three NFL seasons.
Nelson spoke before reporters learned the team was releasing Kendricks, who had been expected to compete with Nelson for reps at weakside linebacker.