PHILADELPHIA (AP) -J.R. Reed is back with the Philadelphia Eagles for his defense more than his return skills.
Released after his muffed punt led to a loss at Green Bay in the season opener, Reed re-signed with the Eagles on Wednesday to provide depth in a banged-up secondary.
All-Pro safety Brian Dawkins sustained a neck stringer in Monday night's 20-12 loss to Washington, and his status for Sunday's game against Detroit is uncertain. Starting free safety Sean Considine briefly left against the Redskins with a knee injury, but returned.
Reed gives the Eagles four safeties on the roster.
Tackle Pat McCoy was released to make room for Reed. The Eagles also signed tackle Jonathan Palmer to the practice squad and released tight end Lee Vickers.
A fourth-round pick in 2004, Reed had a promising rookie season, averaging 23.1 yards per kickoff return with a long of 66.
But soon after playing in the Super Bowl, Reed got hurt in a bizarre accident. He cut the back of his knee while jumping over a fence and damaged a nerve that affects the use of his lower leg and foot.
Reed sat out the entire 2005 season and went back to college to work on his degree. He spent training camp with the Eagles last year, but was among the final cuts.
From there, Reed went to St. Louis, Atlanta and spent eight days with the New York Giants last month. Reed played six games with the Rams, returning 17 kickoffs for an average of 20.4 yards.
He signed with the Eagles on Sept. 2 after getting cut by the Giants. Reed returned three kickoffs in the opener against the Packers, and was pressed into duty as a punt returner for the first time in his career after Greg Lewis lost a fumble and looked shaky.
Reed inexplicably tried to make a running catch on a punt in traffic and fumbled it, setting up the winning field goal. He was cut two days later when the Eagles brought back the sure-handed Reno Mahe.
``I made a bad decision,'' Reed said. ``I can catch the ball. I was trying to be aggressive.''
Reed watched the Eagles play the Redskins and figured he might get a call when he saw Considine and Dawkins go down.
``I knew we only had three safeties. I said, 'We're in trouble,''' Reed said. ``Now, I'm just taking it day to day.''
Five other starters joined Dawkins on the sideline for Wednesday's practice. Tackle William Thomas (back), tight end L.J. Smith (groin), running back Brian Westbrook (knee), cornerback Lito Sheppard (knee) and Considine sat out.
Coach Andy Reid said none of the injured players has been ruled out yet for this week. Westbrook was scheduled to be examined by a doctor. Sheppard already missed one game.

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