June 06, 2019
This time last year, it felt a lot like Ronald Darby was likely to play his last season in Philadelphia before finding a lucrative offer in free agency elsewhere. Aside from the occasional tackling hiccup, all was going to plan, as Darby played well over the first half of the season.
However, those plans derailed when he tore an ACL Week 10 against the Dallas Cowboys, ending his season. During the 2019 offseason, Darby didn't find much in the way of interested suitors on the open market, so he instead returned to the Eagles on a one-year deal worth $6.5 million.
Will Darby be ready for Week 1 of the 2019 regular season? His torn ACL occurred on November 11 last year, which gives him roughly 10 months to rehab. He was out on the field for OTAs on Wednesday, warming up with his teammates, and then doing sprints on a side field while the rest of the team practiced. He noted after practice that he is running 22 miles per hour.
Asked if Week 1 remained the timetable for his return to the field, Darby said, "Yeah, that's what I'm aiming for."
Asked if he'll be ready for training camp, he said, "Oh yeah, I'll be doing stuff in training camp."
Asked if he'll be a full participant in training camp, Darby said, "I gotta see. We'll talk it over."
Darby is the Eagles' most athletic defensive back, and their best cover corner. If fully healthy, there's little question that he would be one of the Eagles' starters on the outside. That said, with the Eagles' depth at the position, there should be no reason to rush him back out onto the field.
In Darby's absence in 2018, Rasul Douglas (eventually) played well down the stretch, as did Avonte Maddox and Cre'Von LeBlanc. With Sidney Jones and (maybe) Jalen Mills also returning from injuries in 2018, the Eagles can afford to let Darby fully heal before they play him prematurely.
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