Eagles’ Howard to play; Ertz’s status ‘up in the air’

Field Level Media

December 27, 2019 at 4:34 pm.

Philadelphia Eagles running back Jordan Howard has been cleared for contact and is expected to play in Sunday’s regular-season finale against the New York Giants in East Rutherford, N.J.

Coach Doug Pederson announced Howard’s status on Friday after the running back has missed six straight games due to a shoulder stinger sustained during the Eagles’ 22-14 victory over the Chicago Bears on Nov. 3.

Pederson acknowledged that Howard may not receive a full workload on Sunday and could play more of a complementary role to rookie Miles Sanders.

Howard has rushed for 525 yards and six touchdowns this season for the Eagles (8-7), who can clinch the NFC East title and a No. 4 seed in the playoffs with a victory over the Giants (4-11). Philadelphia can also secure the division title with a loss by the Dallas Cowboys (7-8) to the visiting Washington Redskins (3-12) on Sunday.

Pederson was not as definitive in regard to the status of three-time Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz, who is expected to participate in the Eagles’ walkthrough on Friday. Ertz’s availability for Sunday’s game is considered “up in the air” by Pederson.

“I’m not going to risk further injury just to have him out there,” Pederson said.

Ertz sustained a rib injury in the first half of Philadelphia’s 17-9 victory over Dallas last Sunday. He returned and appeared to be laboring while finishing with four catches for 28 yards.

Ertz has 88 receptions for 916 yards and six touchdowns this season. The 29-year-old has caught at least 74 passes in five straight campaigns and has missed five games total across seven NFL seasons.

Tight end Dallas Goedert received more opportunities with Ertz ailing and had nine receptions for 91 yards and a touchdown against Dallas.

Pederson also noted that right tackle Lane Johnson has made progress in regard to his high ankle sprain that has sidelined him for the last two games. Halapoulivaati Vaitai will continue to play in place of Johnson if the latter cannot compete on Sunday.

— Field Level Media