Why Eagles’ Miles Sanders made Nick Sirianni, his teammates promise to make the playoffs to get surgery
Eagles running back Miles Sanders walked into head coach Nick Sirianni’s office a day after the team defeated the Giants at Lincoln Financial Field.
As the team celebrated the win over their division rivals, Sanders worried about his hand which he injured in the game. After Eagles medical staff evaluated his hand, they determined he had broken it, leaving questions about his availability for the rest of the season.
When Sanders saw his head coach, he made him promise one thing.
“I looked, I said, ‘Promise me the playoffs and I’ll have this surgery tomorrow,'” Sanders told his head coach. He said, ‘I got you.’ I think the week came where we had the W in Washington, he told me he was hoping I would have surgery, and I told him I already had it and just had to give me a chance. I’m just excited to be there with the boys this Sunday.
Nearly three weeks after that interaction, Sanders’ decision to have surgery on his broken hand paid off, paving the way for him to step onto the court in Sunday’s Eagles game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Sanders’ return will bolster the Eagles running back group, a unit that helped the Eagles set a team-record 2,715 rushing yards. Sanders’ quick comeback leaves some questions about his hand’s ability to hold not only when trying to secure the ball, but also with the expected rain that is supposed to come on Sunday.
“I just try to do everything I can with what they let me do every day,” Sanders said. “I was doing more and more every day. It started with transfers, then running the ball, pressing it and holding it. We do a ball safety drill with the coaches hitting the ball and catching the ball, stuff like that. I have confidence and I feel ready to go.
Another person who trusts him is Sirianni, who says he’s not worried about Sanders returning to the field and aligning with the attack.
“What that says about him is how determined he is to come back and show his talent on the national stage here in the first round of the playoffs,” Sirianni said. “That’s who Miles is. Miles is a phenomenal player and phenomenal talent. He’s an even better teammate, person and worker, which is why he has the talent and skills he has.
Sanders will be tested by the Buccaneers defense, which could target the injured hand, trying to hit it to force a fumble. Sanders said some protective measures were taken to protect his hand. Sanders also said he felt fresh, commenting that his teammates told him he looked fast.
If Sanders is truly 100 percent, the Eagles could use him on stretch out plays to force the Buccaneers defensive lineman to run horizontally, trying to tire them out. Also, with wind gusts reaching 20 to 30 miles per hour, the Eagles may need to use screenplay as a weapon in the passing game. Getting Sanders out into space behind the Eagles offensive line could lead to some big plays.
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Chris Franklin can be reached at [email protected].