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Monday, August 3, 2009
Tough start for the Eagles with Bradley's injury


Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

It's been one week of Eagles training camp, and the team has already dealt with a lot of adversity. First and foremost, there was the death of longtime defensive coordinator Jim Johnson, one of the best minds in the game. There's also been the distraction of rookie wide receiver Jeremy Maclin's contract holdout.

 Bradley

Now it appears that starting middle linebacker Stewart Bradley, one of the team's best young players, will miss the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament that he suffered during Sunday's Flight Night at the Linc. I don't know the exact play during the scrimmage where Bradley suffered the injury, but Les Bowen of the Daily News says the linebacker got caught up in a pile of players.

In recent days, I've written about how some teams feature more contact in training camp than others. Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips said there would be no tackling in San Antonio, and he said that's something that goes all the way back to how his father, Bum, approached training camp. In Denver, though, there will be full-pad tackling like the old days. Andy Reid had said Saturday that the scrimmage would include full-contact.

And with what happened to Bradley, it's time to make the immediate second-guess. In fact, that's one of my specialties. I'll ask around to my fellow bloggers, but my sense is that most team's don't tackle in training camp -- except sometimes in red zone drills. So is tackling in training camp worth the risk?

This afternoon, I'm sure a lot of Eagles fans are wondering how to answer that. Bradley's one of the smartest players on the team and he's an emerging leader. In addition to trying to fill the shoes of the great Jim Johnson, defensive coordinator Sean McDermott will now be forced to find a replacement at one of the most important positions on the field. He could go with a veteran such as Omar Gaither who was benched last season in favor of Akeem Jordan or an '08 late-round draft pick named Joe Mays.

We'll keep our eye on this one for you. And thanks for your patience this afternoon. I had to step away from the Beast news desk for another assignment.