The Eagles made a pair of roster moves today, ending one player’s season and giving another a big chance at making an impact. MLB Omar Gaither, who underwent surgery for a Lisfranc sprain prior to the team’s Week 7 game versus the Redskins, had little chance of returning this year anyway, but was officially placed on the Injured Reserve list, freeing up a spot on the 53-man roster. In his place, the Birds claimed rookie RB P.J. Hill (pictured, #43) from the New Orleans Saints’ practice squad, and signed him to a 1-year deal.
The transaction to move Gaither into the “done for the season” group of players was expected, as he improved very little in the coming days of last week’s contest following his ankle injury suffered in Week 6. It was initially evaluated as a slight sprain of the lower leg, but eventually revealed to be a Lisfranc injury, defined as a fracture and/or dislocation of the bone in the midfoot region. Trade deadline acquisition Will Witherspoon filled Gaither’s role as the starting Middle Linebacker with an explosion of success on Monday night against Washington, and seems to be the right answer at the position for the near future while young star Stewart Bradley–and now Gaither–heal to compete for the job in the coming seasons.
With the 4th-year Linebacker being placed on the IR, the Eagles were left with an open roster spot, and apparently felt it necessary to address the Running Back situation, especially with the recent head injury of starter Brian Westbrook. Hill, the rookie who was added from New Orlean’s scout team, signed with the Saints as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Wisconsin, where he compiled a great collegiate career that included nearly 4,000 rushing yards off of 720 carries, 358 receiving yards, and 46 total scores. Expected to be selected in the offseason’s Draft, Hill was disappointingly dropped from many teams’ wish lists because of off-field incidents such as D.U.I.s, and was forced to sign with a team as a free agent. However, since his original joining of the Saints, Hill has improved from his troubling alcohol problems, and appeared to be capable of playing good professional football. Because of unavailability on the team, the rookie was cut on the final day for roster trimmings, and signed to the practice squad shortly after. At 5′10″, 218 lbs., P.J. Hill has both powerful and speedy running techniques, and should be a quality reserve player for the Eagles’ offensive unit. It should be known that while with the Saints in mini-camps, he was also utilized as a Fullback, so that may be a possibility for his tenure as an Eagle.
Depending on the true severity of Westbrook’s injury, Hill could see more playing time than expected as a recent addition, but for now, he is listed as the team’s 4th rusher on the depth chart, behind 2nd-round Draft pick LeSean McCoy and hard-nosed preseason star Eldra Buckley.