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Eagles Sign WR Gilyard

Posted Jan 6, 2012

The Eagles announced the signing of wide receiver Mardy Gilyard to a futures contract Friday. Gilyard, 5-11, 194, was a fourth-round pick of the St. Louis Rams in 2010. As a rookie, he caught six passes for a total of 63 yards. He was released by the Rams prior to the 2011 season.

"I worked out for the Eagles earlier in the year. They had tried to make a trade for me earlier in the preseason, but St. Louis rejected the trade, but then released me at the end of the preseason," Gilyard said on a telephone call Friday. "I knew the Eagles were interested in me. I knew I worked out well when I came here. I got a call from my agent and he said, ‘I’ve got some good news and some bad news.’ I asked, ‘What’s up?’ He said, ‘Bad news is your fishing days are over,’ and I was like, ‘Dang!’ Then he said, ‘and the good news is that you’re going to be catching balls from Michael Vick.’

"He knew that Mike’s one of my favorite quarterbacks. I just kind of giggled and said, ‘Don’t play with me, man!’ I’d been out of football all season and I’ve heard all sorts of things - ‘You’re on our short list, we want to bring you on but we can’t just yet,’ etc.- you hear so many things like that when you’re a free agent. Then I got a call setting up a flight for me to get to Philly and take my physical. Now I’m just happy to be back playing the game."

Gilyard, 25, also has experience as a returner. In 2010, he returned 16 kickoffs for a total of 356 yards (22.3 yards per return), with a long of 34. He played his collegiate football at Cincinnati, where he caught 204 passes for 3,003 yards and 25 touchdowns. Gilyard was also named the Offensive MVP of the Senior Bowl in 2010.

"That was one of the things that really helped my stock coming out of college," Gilyard said of his return experience. "I was originally a cornerback, and then they moved me to kick and punt returns, and that was where I really began to shine. This Eagles team is really special to watch and on special teams they have a huge threat in DeSean Jackson. On kick returns, I think I can help. I want to help however I can. If I’m asked to do that, I’ll learn everyone else’s job and get the scheme down to where I can really help."

The Eagles, of course, have had success with players from Cincinnati in the past, with Trent Cole, Brent Celek and Jason Kelce all becoming significant contributors in their post-Bearcat careers.

"I just smile, because now I have Trent Cole, and Brent, and Kelce to help me adjust here in Philly. You want to be able to come in and work hard, not step on anybody’s toes, and develop team chemistry," Gilyard said. "I want to sit down with all the guys and just learn as much as I can."

Perhaps Gilyard will be the next in that line of success.

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