There’s no need to rush any of the banged-up Birds back at full speed, because Philadelphia earned the No. 1 seed in the NFC and an opening-weekend bye. So they were eased into practice: Hurts tested his sprained right shoulder Friday after he skipped throwing drills a day earlier, and Johnson practiced for the first time since he suffered a torn adductor in a Dec. 24 loss at Dallas.
All the Eagles (14-3) can do this weekend is watch and wait to see who they'll play at Lincoln Financial Field the weekend of Jan. 21-22 against the lowest remaining seed out of Tampa Bay, Dallas, New York or Seattle .
But even with a week off, the Eagles can celebrate. Center Jason Kelce earned first-team All-Pro honors for the fifth time in his career and Johnson joined him on the squad. Hurts, wide receiver A.J. Brown, edge rusher Haason Reddick and cornerback James Bradberry earned All-Pro second team honors.
Reddick, who signed a free-agent deal in March, was also named to the Pro Bowl team and won NFC defensive player of the month honors for December. A New Jersey native and Temple standout, Reddick had 16 sacks to lead an Eagles defensive that had 70 overall.
“So many negative narratives put out my first couple of years,” Reddick said. “All I’ve been doing is working hard trying to change that, change my path and be the best NFL player I can be. Seeing things like this, I’m just taking these victories as they come and I’m going to continue to do my best to build on these things.”
The only starter who might miss a playoff game is cornerback Avonte Maddox (toe), who has not played since he was hurt Dec. 24 against Dallas.
Johnson’s return would be a major boost for an offensive line that has a greater need to protect Hurts. The second-time All-Pro said the rest helped and that he'd try for an “intense” practice next Thursday before the playoff game.
“Going out there and not feeling a lot of pain was good,” Johnson said. “It’s encouraging for me. It gives me a lot more confidence going into next week.”
The Eagles also were encouraged by Hurts resuming throwing. The 24-year-old, who is 17-1 in his last 18 regular-season starts, finished with 3,701 yards passing and 22 touchdowns along with 760 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns in his second season as a starter.
The Eagles started Hurts in the finale after losing two straight games without him; a third loss could have cost them the NFC East title, the top seed in the conference and the bye.
“I think the whole world knows I’m dealing with something,” Hurts said. “I think the whole point of that game was coming back and getting done what we need to get done and obviously having that time to rest. So here it is.”
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Dan Gelston, The Associated Press