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Maclin Returns To Field Full Force

Posted May 29, 2014

Thursday's Eagles practice was the first full-squad workout of 2014 that was open to members of the media. It was the first chance for reporters to see some of the new Eagles who have been brought into the fold, but there was also another welcomed sight at the NovaCare Complex practice field – the return of No. 18 running routes in midnight green.

Jeremy Maclin practiced with the Eagles offense with the media watching for the first time since tearing his ACL in last year's Training Camp, but as the wide receiver explained, he's been working hard with the team behind closed doors, and he hasn't been limited whatsoever in his return.

"I've been at it for a while now," Maclin explained. "This was the first day that (reporters) have been here, but since day one that we reported back, I've been out there with the team and doing everything that they're doing. It's kind of becoming routine for me now.

"Throughout the rehab process, (I was able) to continue to get better and continue to progress each and every day. Once that started happening, I think that built confidence and once you build confidence, I think the rest is just putting in the work."

Participating in the Eagles OTAs is a huge step in Maclin's journey back to the field after last season's knee surgery. As the 6-foot, 198-pound receiver gets back into the flow of working in the Eagles offense, he's putting his injury behind him and focusing on moving forward.

"You can't think (about the injury)," Maclin said. "Once you start playing tentatively and you start having second thoughts about the whole process, that's when bad things happen.

"At this phase that we're at now, you've got to take care of each other. Chip (Kelly) preaches that, and I think we do a great job of doing that out there on the football field. We want to go hard, but at the same time, we want to take care of each other."

With the addition of Darren Sproles, Jordan Matthews, Josh Huff and a host of others, the Eagles offense will have some new components this season. But according to Maclin, fans shouldn't expect to see a dramatic overhaul in how the team operates on the offensive side of the ball. The offensive concepts remain the same, and for that reason, Maclin feels ready to get back into the action.

"As far as what we're doing on offense, it's not changing one bit," Maclin explained. "We've added some pieces, but I'm looking forward to seeing this offense take the step to the next level. I think we definitely have the guys that can do that.

"I had all last season to kind of get into the playbook and learn the offense, so I'm not behind on that aspect, but it's different (being out there). You don't know what you're getting into until you get out on the football field. The way that we practice, things were flying at a fast pace, so once you get the thinking part down, I think you just react, and that's when you kind of get comfortable in the offense."

Maclin has been an incredibly reliable target for the Eagles since he was drafted in 2009. In fact, he's one of just eight receivers in NFL history to have at least 55 catches and 750 yards in each of his first four seasons.

Despite putting up such strong numbers, Maclin isn't concerned about any personal statistics in 2014. According to the Missouri product, winning comes first and foremost.

"To consider this (season) the best year of my career, (I need) to help this team win," said Maclin. "I want to get farther than where we were last year and I plan on being a big part of this offense.

"If we have the success that I think that we can have and we can get where I think we can get to, I think the stats will come. I'm not going to hang my head on certain stats or certain numbers. I'm just going to go out there and play football and do what my team asks me to do."

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