How Eagles veteran Isaac Seumalo reacted to losing his left guard spot

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How Seumalo reacted to losing his left guard spot originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Isaac Seumalo lost his left guard spot when Landon Dickerson blossomed as a Pro Bowl-caliber left guard.

Then his future as Jason Kelce’s successor at center evaporated when the Eagles drafted Cam Jurgens.

You could have understood if Seumalo was bitter. You could have understood if he didn’t want to be here anymore.

Some players would have taken that road.

Instead, Seumalo did what was best for the team.

He accepted a move to the only interior o-line spot left. If he couldn’t play left guard or center, then he’d be the best right guard possible.

“Every year you’re competing,” Seumalo said earlier this week. “Doesn’t matter if you’re a 12-year all-pro or a 1st-year rookie. You’ve got to come in with that mindset that they’re always going to bring in somebody to compete for your job, that’s just what it is, I’m no stranger to that.

“But I think when I’m healthy the film says a lot, that I can play at a really high level, and I still feel that way.”

You’ve gotta love Seumalo’s attitude.

Instead of resenting Dickerson for taking his spot, he raves about how the 23-year-old rookie played last year.

“I’ll tell you what, Landon balled out last year,” Seumalo said. “He came in coming off some injuries, got thrown in there, he weathered the storm and played really well at the end. Him and Jordan (Mailata) have such a tight bond.

“I love playing next to Jordan, that’s been great, but I get to play next to Lane (Johnson) too, and they’re two of the best at what they do so I’m thankful either way.”

You might think moving from left guard to right guard isn’t a big deal. But they’re distinctly different positions and it's not a simple transition.

Especially when it comes during the late stages of a foot surgery rehab.

“It’s been an adjustment for sure,” Seumalo said. “But talking to guys like Brandon Brooks, who I’ve always been close with, he was the best at the position so I’ve talked to him a bunch.

“Obviously switching from one guard to the next there’s different technicalities and weight position and all this kind of specific o-line stuff, but it’s been going really well being out there, especially with Kelce and Lane, still getting to play next to both of those guys is truly a blessing, so I’m excited about it.

“I kind of embrace challenges anyway.”

There’s been no shortage of them for the 7th-year veteran, one of only five position players remaining from Doug Pederson’s first team in 2016.

After starting 16 games in 2019 for the first time in his career, he missed half the 2020 season with a knee injury and then missed the last 13 games last year with a foot injury that he’s still rehabbing.

Seumalo suffered a Lisfranc foot sprain in the Eagles’ Week 3 game in Dallas. He underwent surgery in October and then more surgery in February.

Why two surgeries?

“They put metal in and took metal out,” he said.

Seumalo said he still hasn’t been cleared for contact but hopes to be on the field for the start of training camp in late July.

“I personally as a goal definitely want that,” he said. “I feel like I’ve been moving well during OTAs. I’m not really planning on taking any breaks these next six, seven weeks.

“I want to be as good if not better than what I was before. That’s always been my goal since October.”

When asked what his doctors say about late July, Seumalo smiled.

“Sometimes the doctors say something else, but I want to embrace that challenge of being - if not fully ready - as ready as possible come July 26,” he said. “That’s my goal. … The first surgery was in October and then another one in February so it’s been long for sure but I’m definitely ahead of schedule in terms of being out there and moving around feels good.”

The only guards to start more games in an Eagles uniform than Seumalo over the last 15 years are Brooks and Evan Mathis, a couple multiple Pro Bowlers.

But if Seumalo isn’t ready for the start of camp, he risks losing his job. Say Sua Opeta replaces him to start the preseason and plays well, Seumalo might not get his job back.

Which is what just happened to Seumalo.

He’s not concerned. He doesn’t worry about stuff.

“I have a model that I live by and that’s living in the moment day by day,” he said. “I try to squeeze as much as I can out of every day. Especially during this rehab process.

“I’m always in that (mode) every season of, ‘What can I get better at? What can I embrace?’ I’m not going to shy away from things that I’m either not good at or haven’t been good at. That’s the stuff I want to attack every day.”

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