Though he wasn't a free agent at the beginning of the 2013 league year, wide receiver Arrelious Benn had a feeling he'd be switching teams before the start of the season.
Drafted in the second round by the Buccaneers in 2010, Benn never quite caught on in Tampa Bay, and was acquired by the Eagles during the team's eventful first week of free agency. Now that he has a new home in Philadelphia, not to mention a new contract extension that keeps him with the Eagles through 2014, Benn is eager to put the past behind him and carve out a new future with the Eagles.
"Whatever my role is, it's something they want me to come in here and do, and I'm excited to do it," Benn said Thursday. "They have great guys here; they have great receivers here. I can't wait to meet them and mesh with them and just be a part of the team and do whatever I have to do."
Benn had his best season in 2011, catching 30 passes for 441 yards and three touchdowns. But a knee injury slowed him down last season, and he finished the year on Injured Reserve. Benn said he didn't have trouble with injuries in college, and is now "as healthy as healthy can be."
"If I'm being honest, I don't like my career," he said. "I have to stay healthy. I haven't stayed healthy; I've had a problem with injuries. When I was healthy and out there, I made plays. I was consistent. But the big thing for me is to stay healthy."
If Benn is indeed ready to go, the Eagles will benefit from more than just a 6-2, 220-pound receiver with impressive speed and physicality. They'll also benefit by adding a player who is eager to show the world what he can do.
"Right now, I'm hungry to prove a lot of things, prove to people who have doubted me," he said. "I just want to go out there and show what I can do. Stay healthy, be a team guy and have fun."
Benn joins an Eagles team eagerly awaiting direction from head coach Chip Kelly and his staff. While the team isn't quite sure what they're in for, Benn said he knows plenty about the offense Kelly ran at Oregon. In fact, Benn said, he flourished in a no-huddle spread offense in college at Illinois.
Though he didn't sign with the Eagles as a player on the open market, Benn is excited for the change of scenery. The Eagles have now bolstered an already dynamic receiving corps with a player who brings speed, physicality and maybe the most important trait of all – a team-first mentality.
"I'm a guy who's bought in," he said. "Whatever I have to do, whatever Coach Kelly wants me to do, I'm going to do it. I can play special teams, I'll play, do whatever. I see myself as a guy with many trades. I'm a team guy, and whatever I have to do – if I have to block, go out and do whatever – I'm all for it. I'm just glad to be an Eagle."
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