A handful of Eagles could begin training camp Thursday on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.
Placing the designation on Carson Wentz, which an NFL Network reporter said is the “most likely, cautious scenario,” would have been insulting considering the quarterback’s sensational return from torn knee ligaments.
Teams use PUP basically to keep injured or out of shape players from counting against the 80-man roster limit in training camp. Players can come off the list at any time, but when they do, they’re not eligible to go on the reserve PUP list, which is the one Eagles rookie cornerback Sydney Jones opened the season on last year while rehabbing from a torn Achilles’ tendon. You have to start camp on PUP to be eligible for reserve PUP, the list that effectively sidelines players a minimum of the first six weeks of the season. Injured reserve is the next stop.
Wentz maintains he’s on target to start the Sept. 6 season opener against the Atlanta Falcons. He’s participated in a myriad of drills, including team activities through the offseason.
Before leaving minicamp, Wentz said his next hurdle would be the physicality of training camp. Head coach Doug Pederson explained how he would split the first-team reps between Wentz and Nick Foles at camp.
Telling the fiery Wentz to throttle down and stand on the sideline with bona fide PUP candidates such as Brandon Graham (ankle), Tim Jernigan (back) and Alshon Jeffery (shoulder), who are coming off much more recent surgeries, would have been a blow to his ego.
The reporter who said putting Wentz on PUP “is one strong option for the Eagles,” also stated “the other is to have him practice on a limited basis so he can remain out on the field with his teammates. Either way, rehab is going well … ”
Around 6:30 p.m., the same NFL Network reporter tweeted, “Great news for Eagles QB Carson Wentz, who won’t go on PUP. He’ll be limited but at least practicing.”
That pretty much suggests there’s no benefit — other than creating a roster space — in placing Wentz on PUP in the first place. Whatever arcane procedural relief it provides could anger Wentz.
In terms of Graham, his goal is to be ready for the start of the season. Though Jernigan told people at a recent golf tournament that he feels great, like Graham, he did nothing during the offseason after sustaining the mysterious alleged non-football injury. Jeffery played last season with a torn rotator cuff after doing very little at training camp.
Another candidate to start training camp on PUP is veteran safety Chris Maragos, who’s coming off knee surgery. Running back Darren Sproles and offensive tackle Jason Peters also are coming off knee surgeries.
The Eagles were scheduled to report to camp and perform their fitness tests Wednesday. At least the healthy players.
Practice begins Thursday afternoon and continues Friday through Sunday morning before the players get a break.