Ryans sustained his injury early in the fourth quarter of the Eagles' 31-21 over the Houston Texans, Ryans' former team. The linebacker intercepted a pass from Texans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and injured himself on the return, fumbling the ball and remaining on the ground while others attempted to recover it.
Players from both teams surrounded Ryans in support before he was taken off the field on a cart, receiving an ovation from his former team's home fans.
“I haven’t seen (a reaction to an injury like) that, but that tells you not only what he means not only to this team but to the other team, and those are guys that, you know, the amount of respect you have for a guy like DeMeco is really unmeasurable," said safety Malcom Jenkins, according to the Eagles' official website. "I think that’s a good visual of it, the coaches, players, really just rallying around him trying to keep his spirits up."
“He's the true leader of our defense. ... He's Mufasa. He's our guy,” Eagles coach Chip Kelly said, according to CSNPhilly.com. “When a warrior goes down, you pick up his shield and you go play in honor of him, and I think that's what our guys did."
Ryans also tore the Achilles in his other leg while playing for Houston in 2010.
The 30-year-old had 39 tackles entering Sunday's game. He's been with the Eagles since the team traded for him before the 2012 season. Ryans had 127 tackles and four sacks last year.
Ryans will likely be replaced by Casey Matthews or Emmanuel Acho.
Eagles quarterback Nick Foles also was injured Sunday, with the team reportedly fearing he broke his collarbone. Foles was replaced by Mark Sanchez.
The Eagles' win improved their record to 6-2. The Texans fell to 4-5.
- Ben Estes