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November 15, 2019

Eagles bring back RB Jay Ajayi to help cope with injured backfield

Ajayi, 26, will help the Birds cope with the loss of Darren Sproles and potential absence of Jordan Howard.

Eagles NFL
111519JayAjayi John David Mercer/USA TODAY Sports

Should the Eagles bring Jay Ajayi back, that would be an indication that the team is concerned about Jordan Howard's shoulder injury.

UPDATE [5:12 p.m.] — The Eagles announced on Friday evening that they've signed running back Jay Ajayi, who was a member of their Super Bowl winning team in 2017, following a workout at the NovaCare Complex earlier in the day.

The move comes after the team announced that Darren Sproles (quad) was out for the season after landing on injured reserve. And to add insult injury to injury, the Eagles could also be without Jordan Howard (shoulder) against the Patriots' top-ranked defense. He's failed to practice yet this week and according to head coach Doug Pederson, he hasn't even been cleared for contact yet. 

As for Ajayi, Pederson believes he could see some action in Sunday's Super Bowl LII rematch, given his history here and familiarity with the Eagles' scheme.

"Yeah, I think so," Pederson said when asked if Ajayi could possibly play this weekend. "Don't lose site too, RB De’Angelo Henderson is on our practice squad, he's another candidate that has been working really hard in our offense, knows our system, and has been here too, so we have a couple of options there. If it's Jay and really if it's either one, I think we can give them a little bit of work."

-- Matt Mullin


FROM EARLIER

The Philadelphia Eagles are having former running back Jay Ajayi in for a visit on Friday, ahead of their matchup this weekend with the New England Patriots, according to a report late Thursday night by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

That's probably not good news. 

In the Birds' win over the Bears Week 9, Jordan Howard injured his shoulder and did not finish the game. He has been a limited participant in practice this week. Howard (6'1, 225) and Ajayi (6'0, 223) have similar body types and skill sets, and would fill the same role in the Eagles' offense.

The Patriots' defense, as we noted in our five matchups to watch, is potentially vulnerable against the run. The Eagles need Howard to play in this game, especially considering their passing game is already without DeSean Jackson (abdomen), and might be missing Alshon Jeffery, who has not participated in practice all week with an ankle injury. The run game is arguably the Eagles' best chance to win this game, and Howard has been the Eagles' most consistent runner this season.

A healthy Ajayi makes sense as a short-term replacement for Howard, or as something of a backup plan in-game if Howard plays but cannot finish. Obviously, Ajayi knows the offense, having already played a season and a half with the Eagles. In his time in Philly, Ajayi was a productive player, carrying 115 times for 592 yards (5.1 YPC) and 4 TDs. Of course, he hasn't played at all since he added a torn ACL to his already well-publicized degenerative knees Week 5 against the Vikings in 2018.

This offseason, Ajayi was an unrestricted free agent, but did not generate much interest. We'll update if the Eagles go ahead and sign him.


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