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Isaac Seumalo finally gets his chance to compete at guard

PHILADELPHIA – It wasn’t the best way for Isaac Seumalo to begin his professional career, but he did the best he could.

Seumalo, a Philadelphia Eagles third-round pick, played guard at Oregon State. Because of the academic schedules of Pac-12 schools, Seumalo was not allowed to attend Eagles offseason workouts under NCAA rules. He attended a brief rookie camp, but was not able to participate in the weeks of OTAs and the June minicamp.

“I did as much as I could to come back ready to go,” Seumalo said Monday, after the first official practice of training camp. “I had the playbook with me. It was a smooth transition.”

Eagles offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland would talk to Seumalo via Skype, helping the rookie to stay on top of what the team was doing.

“That was extremely helpful,” Seumalo said. “Coach Stout is very detailed. He expects a lot out of me and I expect a lot out of myself.”

Only rookies, quarterbacks and a few other veterans were practicing Monday. The rest of the team will be on the field Thursday for the first time. Allen Barbre is the Eagles’ starting left guard going into camp.

Seumalo lined up at left guard Monday, with Malcolm Bunche, who is listed as a guard, playing left tackle. While head coach Doug Pederson has said that Barbre “is my guy” at left guard, the Eagles drafted Seumalo for a reason.

The coaches would be more than happy to have the rookie earn the left guard spot. Seumalo’s challenge will be that much greater because he missed OTAs.

“He’s not around the guys,” Pederson said. “He’s not hearing the calls from center. Not having the chance to get live reps, obviously, might set you back.

“He’s such a hard worker. He’s smart. He proved himself, even today, coming back. It’s almost like he went through a whole offseason. He’s sharp. He picked up where he left off back in rookie camp.”

Seumalo will get extra work Tuesday and Wednesday. Once the veterans come in, there will be fewer practice reps to go around. It won’t be easy, but Seumalo is in as good a position as he could hope to be after missing the May and June practices.