PHILADELPHIA – It might be as a practice-squad elevation or as a member of the 53-man roster but veteran running back Jordan Howard is set to make his 2021 debut for the Eagles on Sunday in Detroit.
Howard is needed because RB1 Miles Sanders is going to be placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury.
Howard was elevated from the practice squad as was tight end Richard Rodgers.
Safety K'Von Wallace took Sanders' spot don't the roster.
Howard, meanwhile, has one practice squad elevation remaining that the Eagles could use in what is expected to be either a three-game absence for Sanders or slightly more than that in the worst-case scenario.
"[Miles is] just going to be out for right now," coach Nick Sirianni said when asked about Sanders moving to IR. "We still have some decisions to make there. With him being out, it just means that the other guys that we have coming up and stepping up and making plays, with Kenny and Boston and with Jordan."
"He's practiced with the starters this week and we have a lot of confidence in him," head coach Nick Sirianni said of Howard..
Howard re-signed with the Eagles this offseason when he admitted there weren't a lot of other offers on the table for him.
He has played in 64 career games, including 12 with the Eagles. Howard has a knack for finding the goal line as his 36 career rushing touchdowns indicate 34 of which came on the ground.
The veteran had a really productive summer but with the COVID-19 roster rules kept in place for 2021 enabling veteran players to be placed on the expanded 16-man practice squads, the Eagles went that route with Howard.
The assumption was that he would always be needed at some point and some point has arrived.
“One of the things that just stands out to me about Jordan is his work ethic,” right guard Jack Driscoll said. “Whether he was on the scout team and not active, he worked just a hard as he is now. You look back on some of the tape from 2018, 2019 and he runs hard. We’re excited to have him back there. He’s capable of making plays.”
Howard ran for 525 yards and 6 touchdowns in 10 games for the Eagles in 2019 after being acquired from Chicago for a 2020 sixth-round pick, wresting the RB1 job away from a then-rookie Sanders until a shoulder injury cut short Howard's campaign.
He signed with Miami in free agency but was ineffective with the Dolphins and returned to the Eagles' PS on Nov. 23 of last season before being elevated to the active roster for two games in December.
"I just see a guy that comes to work every day and does his job every day and prepares our defense," Sirianni said of Howard. "The last month or so he's been preparing our defense to get ready to play and working on his craft as a running back. And that's what pros do. They come to work every day and they do what's required of them and even more, because he's continuing to work even more out there.
"They're ready when their number is called."
-John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John, alongside legendary sports-talk host Jody McDonald every morning from 8-10 on ‘Birds 365,” streaming live on both PhillyVoice.com and YouTube. John is also the host of his own show "Extending the Play" on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglemaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.