Evan Engram Olivier Vernon
ESNY Graphic, Getty Images

The New York Giants welcome back edge man Olivier Vernon while Evan Engram remains sidelined with a knee. 

Geoff Magliocchetti

Olivier Vernon is ready for his NFL comeback.

The New York Giants defensive end turned linebacker is set to make his season debut on Thursday night, joining his teammates for a prime-time showdown against the Philadelphia Eagles (8:20 p.m., Fox/NFL Network/Amazon Prime). Vernon had missed the first five games of the season with an ankle injury.

The team indirectly announced the news in a Wednesday statement, as Vernon did not appear on the injury list for Thursday night’s game.


The return of Vernon will be a major boost for the Giants defense, especially in terms of the pass rush. Through the first five games, the Giants have tallied just six sacks, paced by two from rookie B.J. Hill. That mark is tied for dead last in the league with the Oakland Raiders.

Vernon, 28, will enter his third season with the Giants. Despite missing four games due to injuries, Vernon tallied 37 tackles, including 6.5 sacks. He previously earned his first All-Pro honors with the Giants in his 2016 New York debut, picking up 63 tackles and 8.5 sacks.

New York Giants

Normally a defensive end, Vernon is expected to shift to outside linebacker in defensive coordinator James Bettcher’s 3-4 set.

Vernon’s return is perfectly timed for the 1-4 Giants, who will look to impress against an Eagles team desperate to regain momentum from its Super Bowl a year ago.

The Eagles currently sit at 2-3, fresh off back-to-back losses to the Tennessee Titans and Minnesota Vikings. The Giants will look to use Vernon to stifle the Eagles’ offense, which has struggled in spite of the return of All-Pro quarterback Carson Wentz.

Philadelphia is averaging just over 363 yards per game, 20th in the league.

Not all news was positive on the injury front, however.

The Giants announced that tight end Evan Engram (knee) will be out for the anticipated divisional matchup, as will Russell Shepard (neck). Tight end Rhett Ellison (foot) is listed as questionable, while kicker Aldrick Rosas (quad) did not appear on the list.

For the Eagles, linebackers D.J. Alexander (quad) and Nathan Gerry (ankle/knee) were listed as out, as were running back Darren Sproles (hamstring), defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (calf), and safety Corey Graham (hamstring).

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