For about 20 seconds, Avonte Maddox said he couldn’t move. The Eagles cornerback just lay motionless on the turf at Green Bay’s Lambeau Field waiting for help to arrive.
“Once I hit the ground, I was kind of stuck a little bit,” said Maddox.
The training staff gathered around him and tried to reassure him, telling him to relax, that everything was going to be all right. He was strapped to a stretcher and wheeled into the visitor’s locker room.
“I never had an injury of that nature, so they were just keeping me calm,” said Maddox. “But once I came (off the field on a stretcher), I was like, OK, I’m not paralyzed. That’s when I started smiling.”
After missing the previous four games with a concussion and neck injury, Maddox is expected to play Sunday when the Eagles (4-4) host the Chicago Bears (3-4).
Inside the Eagles locker room following Wednesday’s practice, Maddox recounted that frightening night on Sept. 26 late in a game against the Packers when teammate Andrew Sendejo plowed into him while trying to make a play in what would become a 34-27 win over the Packers.
Maddox talked about his aunt, who helped raise him, his father, who he called his best friend, and his sister, all of whom were watching the incident on television.
“They were scared,” said Maddox. “My aunt is always scared even if I’m just strapping my cleats up. (My dad) was definitely nervous, shocked … they don’t want anything bad to happen to me.”
But he talked to them and assured them he was going to be OK.
“As long as I was able to walk and talk they were happy,” said Maddox, who said he has watched a replay of the friendly-fire hit several times.
“It looks a little brutal,” said Maddox. “It was a good hit. You can’t fault him for that. He’s out there playing the same as I’m playing. I’m not mad at him. He was trying to make a play same way I’m trying to make a play. It’s just unfortunate it happened that way. I’m still walking and he’s still giving me my hugs so we good.”
Ah, the hugs. Maddox returned to practice and was a full participant on Wednesday and Sendejo came over and gave him a big hug.
“I told him he gotta hug me for five seconds before every practice and every game,” said Maddox.
Maddox said he won’t give the frightening injury a second thought once the game kicks off.
“I’m good,” said Maddox. “My dad always told me if you go out there and play scared, that’s when things happen to you, so I wouldn’t put myself back on the field if I feel I wasn’t 100 percent. I feel I’m 100 percent ready, so that’s something I don’t think about. I’ll still go out and compete and compete my hardest. That’s not what I’m worried about.”
Maddox’s return is another step in the Eagles’ secondary getting back to full health.
Cornerback Ronald Darby played his first game last Sunday after missing a month with a hamstring injury and cornerback Jalen Mills played his second game after missing nearly a year with a foot injury.
Now, Maddox is back, too.