Mathews ‘Really Optimistic’ He’ll Play Sunday

Plus, Kiko Alonso talks about playing his former team.

Ryan Mathews. (Jeff Fusco)

Ryan Mathews. (Jeff Fusco)

Ryan Mathews returned to practice today for the first time in four weeks since sustaining a concussion against the Dolphins. Mathews, who leads the Eagles in rushing touchdowns despite missing the last three games, is hopeful he’ll play on Sunday.

“I’m feeling good,” Mathews said. “Just got to take it day-by-day and do what I can. I want to play; I’m really optimistic about it, but it’s just whatever the coaching and training staff has planned for me. That’s it.”

Mathews said he was a full participant in practice, although his legs were “a little rusty.” He was also cautious so he wouldn’t “mess anything up,” and didn’t know how many concussions he’s had.

“It’s amazing how the speed can change and just how fast it is,” Mathews said. “You take a few days off, a week off, a couple of weeks off and come back, and it’s fast. You just got to get the timing down and just really get your legs back under you.”


Kiko Alonso also talked to reporters after practice today, saying he isn’t more motivated to play the Bills compared to another team. He added that trades are just a “part of the business,” but did note that he’s still friends with some of his former teammates.

“I’m looking forward to going against some guys I know,” Alonso said.

Several of Alonso’s teammates talked about the deal that brought the linebacker to Philadelphia, and each recalled how surprised they were when they found out.

“I was shocked because obviously [LeSean] McCoy had a great year that year,” Brandon Graham said. “You don’t ever see what the coaches see and what they talk about. You don’t know the business part of it. I thought it was just one of them things where you hate to see someone go, but it’s always next man up.”

Malcolm Jenkins, meanwhile, remembered how fired up he was to play the Saints this season after leaving New Orleans in 2014. He expects McCoy to have similar emotions.

“I’m sure he’s getting gassed up for the game,” Jenkins said. “I’m sure he’s had this game circled on his calendar since he got to Buffalo.”

Jenkins added that he doesn’t think being a teammate of McCoy’s last season will help him stop the running back, noting McCoy’s elusiveness in open field. Graham, however, said conversations he had with McCoy may help him.

“Oh, yeah,” Graham said. “When you think about some of the stuff we talked about as far as picking his brain as far as what he’s looking at, I hope he don’t remember some of the conversations we had. Because I do.”