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Shady return doesn’t mean Brown will sit

Andy Reid said Friday he thinks LeSean McCoy might go to an independent neurologist for clearance on Tuesday, before the team begins preparations in earnest for the next game, Dec. 23 against Washington. McCoy can practice without the clearance, but he needs it to play.

Quarterback Michael Vick and tight end Brent Celek, concussion victims like McCoy, have been fully cleared and are scheduled to practice Monday, Reid said, as is McCoy. He said he isn't sure yet whether Vick, supplanted by Nick Foles as starter, will be active against the Redskins.

Since Vick isn't expected to play anyway, the situation with McCoy is more intriguing. McCoy, 24, is a huge part of the Eagles' future. How much do you risk in two meaningless end-of-season games? People did buy tickets. Reid seemed to be indicating Friday that 21-year-old rookie Bryce Brown won't simply go back to the bench if McCoy returns; Brown, who barely played in college, is a raw talent who needs game action.

"He needs to play. That's why I haven't sat him down because of the fumbles," Reid said of Brown, responsible for four turnovers in four starts. "I felt like he did miss a lot, he missed a lot of football. The thing he needs most is to be out there and playing and learning the game. He's wired the right way. This is a kid who doesn't want to make mistakes and drop the ball and that stuff. He's a responsible kid."

Reid also said: "I would play LeSean when he was ready to do, not that I wouldn't play the other kid."

Other highlights of a long, detailed day-after dissection:

— Reid said he thinks left guard Evan Mathis, who aggravated his ankle injury against the Bengals, will be ready by the Washington game. Ditto fullback Stanley Havili (hamstring) and tight end Clay Harbor (lower back). Corner Brandon Hughes, hospitalized Thursday night with a lung contusion, is home and feeling OK, Reid said.

— Reid was asked about the difficulty of the season for him, given the backdrop of his son Garrett's drug-overdose death Aug.3. "That's not the reason the season has gone the way the season has gone," he said. "You handle your personal things separate. Nobody wants to lose a son. I think that's obvious. That has nothing to do with how the season has gone."

— Reporters are looking for hints on what will happen with players such as enigmatic corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who has suddenly snapped back into form the past 2 weeks after looking lost for much of the season. Reid spoke with Rodgers-Cromartie about focus the week before the Tampa game.

"You're talking about a very good athlete, smart kid," Reid said Friday. "He has had some ups and downs. As much fun as he has at practice and does the things he does out there, he does care. He's learned that through this season. This has been a tough season for him, with the ups and downs. You have to make sure that you keep it focused every week.

"I don't care that he has green hair ... I just want him to play. When it's time to practice, practice the right way. When it's time to play, play the right way."

— Reporters noted that the Eagles have now gone eight games without an interception. Rodgers-Cromartie had one go through his hands just before Cincinnati's first touchdown Thursday. "That's a tough deal," Reid said. "We were close \[Thursday\] on about three of them. I come out of the games and I'm saying that over and over, so somewhere, we've got to make those plays."