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Corey Clement And Donnel Pumphrey Await Their Roster Fates

Posted Aug 31, 2017

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The fourth preseason game may not mean much to established starters, as they spend the game smiling on the sidelines with no pads and no worries about the looming cuts. But for the players on the proverbial roster bubble, the preseason finale means everything.

Among the different position battles in the spotlight in Thursday night’s matchup with the New York Jets, the running back situation was among the most interesting to watch. While LeGarrette Blount, Darren Sproles, and Wendell Smallwood watched from the sideline, rookies Corey Clement and Donnel Pumphrey did everything they could to leave one final positive impression with the coaching staff before the 53-man roster must be announced by Saturday at 4 p.m.

"I never know what they’re thinking and they always keep it in the back of their minds to keep the players going,” Clement said after the game. “Complacency is my biggest thing I always want to avoid. I just want to go out there and have fun and hopefully get some good news tomorrow.”

An undrafted rookie out of Wisconsin, Clement had a consistent showing this preseason. On Thursday, he had just four carries for 16 yards, but he added to his body of work by also being a strong contributor on special teams, an area of his game he’s worked hard to improve since joining the Eagles.

“I feel great. I feel like I’m in a positive spot. Tonight I didn’t get as many carries as I expected, but I utilized everything on special teams, so I think I left it all out there on the field in the last game," Clement said. “I want to show myself that I’m a team player. Once I step onto the field, I want to be a role player not just on the offensive side, but special teams (too). I had a great time out there getting more time on special teams, just showing Coach (Dave) Fipp that I can utilize my skills more. I had a great time just asking him, ‘What can I improve on?’ Hopefully, I can go back in tomorrow and just keep moving up on that special teams list.”

Pumphrey, a versatile offensive talent drafted by the Eagles in the fourth round, also made the most of his chances on special teams, totaling 128 yards on punt and kickoff returns. He added 10 rushing yards on just seven carries, and he wrapped up the preseason believing in the strides he’s made since being drafted. He acknowledges that there’s more work to be done.

“I feel like I progressed a lot,” Pumphrey said. “I definitely have a lot to work on in terms of my overall game. I feel like I put it all on the line, but like I said, I feel like I have a lot to work on.”

Pumphrey left the game early on Thursday to be evaluated for a head injury, though he said afterward that he’s feeling just fine. Now that the four preseason games are over, Pumphrey can only rely on what he’s shown to the coaching staff.

“I can only control what I can control,” Pumphrey said. “I’ll just stay by my phone and relax and get treatment and wait for that call.”

Only time will tell whether or not Clement and Pumphrey have roles on the 53-man roster. Head coach Doug Pederson has previously stated that the best 53 players will make the team, meaning the exact number of running backs the Eagles will keep is still up in the air.

Now, the only thing to do is wait.

“It’s like a redraft again,” said Clement. “Do I get a good phone call or a bad phone call? I feel like I have a great head on my shoulders and I’m feeling not relaxed, but I don’t think I’m looking forward to any bad news."

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