Our old pal and 2007 Super Bowl contributor Steve Smith came off the PUP list yesterday and practiced with his new team for the first time. Is anyone else as surprised about this as I am? I know there was varied speculation about when he would come back, but I got the real sense that there was very little chance he would be ready to play for the Eagles season opener. Many believed we would not even see him in week three when the Giants invade Philadelphia. I got the impression he probably would not see the field on Sunday until about week 8. Sure doesn't look like that now!
When I first heard that the Eagles signed Smith I was shocked and hurt. But very quickly that changed. It didn't take long for me not to worry about it very much because of his knee, and his injury history in general. His injury just about guarantees that he will never be the same player again. He will never be able to make those sharp cuts, those hard digs, those crisp run routes that made him an outstanding chain-mover on third downs.
But with him practicing yesterday, now it feels more real that he is gone. And now I am sure that him being gone is going to bother me even more as the season starts. ESPECIALLY if I see him catch a couple of passes week 1. And if he is in uniform for week three, which seems very likely now, I will not enjoy seeing him going against us and that being a storyline.
I still have to believe that the Giants made the right decision with Smith because of both money and the injury, and I believe ultimately they will be right. But the reality of losing Smith, and having to go against him in an Eagle uniform, has just hit me for real.