No. 24 is the jersey number Jordan Howard wore the last time he scored a touchdown as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles.
The day was November 11, 2019. Howard logged 19 attempts for 82 yards (4.3 average) and one score in a win over his former team, the Chicago Bears.
At the time, Howard’s presence was one of the most encouraging things about the Eagles’ offense. Pounding the rock with him — just like it did in a big upset over the Green Bay Packers — contributed to two straight wins before Philly’s Week 10 bye. There was thought the Eagles might even look to sign Howard to an in-season contract extension.
Alas, it didn’t happen.
Howard suffered a shoulder injury in that Bears game that curiously limited him to just one snap played the rest of the 2019 season. The emergence of Miles Sanders didn’t help his case, either.
And so Howard left the Eagles to sign with the Miami Dolphins in March 2020. It was a move the Fish turned out to regret as he logged 28 carries for just 33 yards (1.18 average), one reception for -3 yards, and one fumble before getting cut.
Always wont to re-sign their former players (often to a fault), Howard naturally ended up back on the Eagles last year. With Darius Slay owning the No. 24 jersey, Howard took No. 28 after signing with Philly’s practice squad in late November.
It was in No. 28 that Howard logged seven total carries for 27 yards (3.87 average). An upgrade from his awful efficiency in Miami, to be sure, but still nothing good.
And so the possibility of Howard being done in the NFL dawned on him this offseason. The veteran running back spoke candidly about as much during a virtual press conference with reporters last week.
“Honestly, the market for me was just pretty dry. I was at the point where I was having thoughts that I might be done because teams weren’t really calling.”
Such a lack of interest allowed the Eagles to re-re-sign (sic) Howard to a one-year contract that contains no guaranteed money.
With No. 24 still taken by Slay (although that might open up if/when the NFL’s new jersey number rule passes) and free agent signing Anthony Harris taking No. 28, Howard is now rocking No. 34. The last five Eagles running backs to wear that? Not exactly the greatest company: Kenjon Barner, Bryce Brown, Ronnie Brown, Eldra Buckley, Reno Mahe.
Not unlike those guys, Howard will (or at least should) have to grind it out and prove he belongs on this year’s roster. The days of him being an established lead back are long gone. He still might be able to be a nice physical change of pace from Sanders but it’s also possible his worst fears are realized and he’s just donezo.
Side note: No. 34 was previously worn by Cre’Von LeBlanc. Guessing that Strap won’t be returning to Philly. On a different note, No. 85 is still open on the Eagles’ roster. That might be a sign that Richard Rodgers could return?