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Howard not cleared for contact; Eagles sign Jay Ajayi

The Philadelphia Eagles are dealing with a banged-up backfield.

Coach Doug Pederson said Friday that running back Jordan Howard suffered a stinger in Week 9 versus the Bears and hasn't been cleared for contact, per NFL Network's Mike Giardi.

It's not a good sign for Howard's availability against the New England Patriots on Sunday, given that the injury occurred before the team's bye last week and he's yet to be cleared. Howard was listed as limited in practices on Wednesday and Thursday.

Philadelphia also announced that running back Darren Sproles will miss the rest of the season after suffering a torn right hip flexor muscle in practice this week. Sproles has played in just six games this season while dealing with injuries. The latest setback for the 36-year-old dynamic returner could spell the end of his magnificent 15-year NFL career.

The RB injuries explain why the Eagles signed Jay Ajayi on Friday afternoon. Ajayi, who spent the past two seasons in Philly and is coming off an ACL tear that ended his 2018 campaign after just four games, could reasonably play Sunday.

If Howard is ruled out for Sunday's tilt versus the Patriots, expect rookie Miles Sanders to see the bulk of the backfield snaps.

Pederson also added that receiver Alshon Jeffery (ankle) is questionable for Sunday after missing practices this week.

The Eagles' injury-riddled offense will face the NFL's top defense on Sunday at far less than full-force.

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