Why is it so hard to restore the eeprom (given that it seems to be so easy to overwrite it!).
Most of the data should be the same from one system to another ... so if you can find another system with the same rev of the e1000, you can copy from there). The exception being the MAC address. You can almost certainly find that by searching the /etc/... files that your distro set up for the NIC when it installed the system (on RHEL look for HWADDR in /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0). Worst case would be that you make up a new one (being sure to not duplicate some other system on your local network ... but a 48-bit number chosen at random is very, very unlikely to match an existing device).