The Eagles made it official Saturday afternoon, activating defensive tackle Mike Patterson to the 53-man roster and releasing linebacker Jason Williams.
Patterson had offseason brain surgery and has not played in a game this season. A first-round pick back in 2005, he suffered a seizure during training camp back in 2011 and was diagnosed with arteriovenous malformation, a tangle of blood vessels in the brain. Patterson was still able to play the entire 2011 season. He said today he never had any doubts about returning.
“I just think it has to do with my personality,” Patterson said. “I just love this game so much. It’s just real fun to me, I enjoy it. When it first happened, people would say ‘no [don’t go back],’ but when everything’s all said and done, the doctor said I was able to play still.”
As for Patterson’s role, Andy Reid indicated that the Eagles would likely limit his snaps.
“I think you would probably monitor how many snaps he plays,” Reid said. “You’re not going to put him in there and have him go the whole game, which our guys don’t do anyway. Definitely monitor how he’s doing.”
The Eagles have been going with a four-man rotation at defensive tackle. Fletcher Cox and Cullen Jenkins were the starters last week. Derek Landri and Cedric Thornton backed them up. The Eagles could keep all five DTs active and just mix Patterson in. If they want to deactivate a lineman, the guess here is Phillip Hunt wouldn’t dress. Jenkins is questionable, but he practiced Friday and is expected to play.
Since the start of training camp, Patterson has been around the team constantly – first at Lehigh, and now at the Novacare Complex.
“I just felt like I wanted to be around the guys, see what’s going on, stay tuned with what’s going on,” Patterson said. “Keeping up with plays and see what type of adjustments we’re doing and stuff like that so I don’t fall far behind when I get back. These weeks now, I’m just able to catch up.”
Patterson’s presence caught the attention of defensive line coach Jim Washburn back in the summer.
“He doesn’t have to come to these rookie meetings at night, in the afternoon,” Washburn said at the time. “He doesn’t have to be there. I said ‘Mike, you don’t have to be there.’ He said, ‘Well I like to be there.’ He likes football. He’s a good one, god dangit.”
Williams, meanwhile, was signed before the Falcons game and played on special teams. According to the coaching staff, he was the first man down in coverage three times and also was a blocker on the return units.