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Eagles Training Camp 2014: Keelan Johnson returns from excused absence

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Keelan is back.

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles safety Keelan Johnson returned to the team's training camp practices on Thursday, July 31st. Johnson had been officially excused by the Eagles since last Friday on July 25th.

Johnson's absence was related to his arrest in Tempe, Arizona near Arizona State University earlier last week. The Eagles originally announced that there was no time-frame for Johnson's return. Some wondered if the Eagles might cut bait with Johnson, but clearly that wasn't the case. Johnson said Eagles head coach Chip Kelly was one of the first people he talked to following the news of his arrest

"He just asked me the situation and told me he didn't want to cut me," Johnson explained. "When he said that, I respect the decision and I was really blessed that he kept me around. I couldn't ask for anything more than but to be here. I'm real thankful he decided to keep me here."

Johnson further elaborated on his gratitude. The second year safety knows that the Eagles, who already have a number of safeties on the roster, could have easily given up on him.

"It means a lot", Johnson said regarding the organization's support. "It means I need to come out here and give them everything I got because they could have easily gotten rid of me. To be in that situation that I was in, it was a situation I wish I could have avoided. I come out here and give it all to [Chip] and this organization as well."

Johnson spent his excused time back in Arizona handling his legal matters. He couldn't get into the specifics of his arrest, however.

"This past week, I went home, I handled the things I need to handle so I could come back here and not be a distraction to this team," said Johnson. "I just took care of all the things I needed to do so I can get back to this game and get ready for this season. [...] I can't really get into the details. It's an on-going investigation. As soon as I get back, and everything is cleared up, I'm sure you all will find out the story yourselves."

Johnson missed a total of four Eagles training camp practices as well as the team's official report day during his absence. During that time Johnson's fellow competitors such as Davon Morgan, Daytawian Lowe and fifth round draft pick Ed Reynolds have been able to take advantage of extra repetitions.

It's clear the Eagles aren't ready to give up on Johnson, who spent most of the 2013 season on the team's practice squad before being called up to the active roster late in the season, just yet. But it's also clear Johnson is fighting an uphill battle to make up for missed time.