MLB Bradley Hurt Left Leg
By Lance Epstein
Yesterday the Eagles lost their starting free safety in Marlin Jackson with a torn Achilles tendon. Today starting middle linebacker Stewart Bradley hobbled off the practice field at the NovaCare Complex.
The Eagles were in 7-on-7 drills, when Bradley pulled up lame and appeared to be favoring his left leg. He was examined on the field by the Eagles medical trainers and eventually he was further examined inside the NovaCare Complex.
Eagles fans remember all too well that last year in training camp [actually Eagles Flight Night], Bradley tore his ACL in his right knee and missed the entire 2009 campaign. However the reason that this injury is very concerning is due to the fact Bradley tore his left ACL during his junior season at Nebraska.
The good news is that Bradley was able to walk off the practice field under his own power. However, he did require some assistance from his teammates before leaving the field under his own power.
On the other hand, Jackson was able to walk off the field under his own power on Tuesday. Then the Eagles announced later in the day that he ruptured his Achilles tendon.
If Bradley's injury turns out to be severe then it would be a massive blow to the Eagles defense. Last year, everyone in the organization witnessed just how much Bradley meant to the Eagles defense by not being able to play. The team went through six different middle linebackers and none matched the impact that Bradley made on the field.
Bradley has the rare combination of size, bulk and speed that makes him able to cover tight ends and running backs, but also stuff opposing team’s running games. Yet his play on the field might not be the biggest loss to the Eagles. His leadership and ability to get other players in the right position makes him very valuable cog in the Eagles aggressive defense.
With all that said, the Eagles are in a much better position at middle linebacker if Bradley's injury cost him a good portion or all of the 2010 season. The Eagles are getting Omar Gaither back from a foot injury. He is a player who has a ton of experience playing the middle linebacker position.
Additionally, the Eagles traded up in the draft for Mississippi State middle linebacker Jamar Chaney. While Chaney is a seventh-rounder, he was projected to go much higher in the draft. The Eagles could gradually work Chaney into the position [once he full understands the playbook] since Gaither has played the MIKE linebacker spot at a high-level in the past.
Either way defensive coordinator Sean McDermott and Eagles fans are praying that Bradley's injury is minor because it would be a major set back for a young defense.
Update: Eagles have announced that Bradley tweaked his calf, but failed to go into further detail. Also Bradley declined interviews. Could be more to the injury then they are letting on.