HomeDa Birds NewsSlay Prepared for Improbable Comeback against Bucs with a Clean Body

Slay Prepared for Improbable Comeback against Bucs with a Clean Body

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PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will wrap up Super Wild Card Weekend on Monday night in the Sunshine State, adding an extra day for the cottage industry that’s ever-present in the NFL: paralysis by analysis.

The Eagles will hold a walkthrough on Thursday, meaning only an estimated practice report will be released pushing back a traditional practice session another 24 hours coupled with a more meaningful injury status update.

The belief was always that five-time Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay would return for the postseason but any remaining uncertainty was removed by Slay himself on his “Big Play Slay Podcast” Wednesday.

Slay has been on the sidelines since a Dec. 10 loss at Dallas when a troublesome knee injury became too much to deal with and arthroscopic surgery was recommended.

A team captain, Slay has talked with the media while injured and noted his rehabilitation was going well. Had the Week 18 game been at Lincoln Financial Field instead of MetLife Stadium and its much-maligned turf Slay would likely have been back to knock the rust off.

The always energetic Darius Slay is ready to go.

John McMullen/Eagles Today

The Eagles took the cautious approach, however, and will roll the dice that Slay, who turned 33 on New Year’s Day, will be ready to go against a Tampa offense with top-tier receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.

Known for gamesmanship when it comes to competitive advantage, Eagles coach Nick Sirianni will not get that opportunity by playing the questionable card with Slay.

“The knee. The knee is feeling good. Did a lot of drills this week. I’m saying I’m feeling good, getting in the rotation. It’s go time now,” Slay said. “It’s playoff time now, playoff football, and [you] best believe I will be out there.”

The veteran, who had two interceptions and 15 pass breakups in 12 games this season, also confirmed what he was dealing with – a torn meniscus.

“I know y’all be like, ‘Dang, Slay. How you heal so fast from a torn meniscus?’ The average person don’t heal as fast as I do from a torn meniscus,” he said. “This is a clean body. I’m talking about no drinking, no nothing.”

Clean body or not, that’s a serious injury to return in essentially a month and all eyes will be on Slay, who should make a big difference on a struggling defense if right.

In his absence, James Bradberry has been the CB1 and flipped over to the left side while a pair of rookies – fourth-round pick Kelee Ringo and the undrafted Eli Ricks – have gotten most of the work on the other side.

Related: Eagles vs. Bucs Wild Card Preview: Philly Ready to ‘Freaking Fight!’

Slay’s return will have a domino effect as he will slide back in at LC and allow Bradberry to return to his more familiar right side.

“Hopefully with Slay and all that, we know how great he is and everything that he brings,” defensive play-caller Matt Patricia said Wednesday. “ … We’re obviously excited to get him [CB Darius Slay] out there in play.”

Patricia once feuded with Slay while both were in Detroit but both quashed any issues earlier this year,

Meanwhile, Patricia noted that Ringo, who has impressed with his length, speed, and physicality, and Ricks, who looks like a natural cover corner, have played well enough to stay in the mix as well.

“I think it’s been good for those guys to go out and play,” Patricia said. “I think it’s exciting for us to see what they’ve been able to do in certain situations, and some of them with some flexibility. We’ve had a chance to move them kind of inside and outside and put them in some different match-ups which has been good too. Having that experience will certainly help us now and then in the future as they grow and go.

“… We’ll just try to get everybody else in a situation depending on whether it’s down and distance or personnel package or something like that, area of the field, where we think those guys that we have now seen, those young guys we have now seen, if we think they can help us in that situation and try to get them on the field when we can.”.

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