On Saturday, the Eagles signed a record-setting defensive lineman to their active roster.
Defensive end Eddie McClam had a knack for blocking kicks at Old Dominion. McClam blocked a total of seven kicks (six PATs, one field goal) in three seasons at the FCS school. He had three blocks in a single game, which tied a FCS record. McClam's five blocks in the 2009 season is a single-year FCS record. The combination of size - McClam is 6-foot-5, 310 pounds - and instinct allowed him to be a menace on special teams.
"Honestly, you focus on the ball. Playing defensive line that helps a lot because you have to get off on the ball all of the time," McClam said after Sunday's practice. "As soon as that ball twitches, we go."
Some long snappers had a tell, McClam said. They would flinch their hand or look at the holder right before the snap. It was something to give McClam that added advantage.
"It's something we (as a team) took serious and I still take serious to this day," he said.
McClam was originally signed by the Detroit Lions as a rookie free agent in 2012. He was released as part of the final roster cutdown. He returned to the family farm in South Carolina before being hired as an admissions counselor at Old Dominion. The university provided him with the ability to pay his bills while he chased his dream. He didn't get a call until last week when the Eagles wanted to bring him to town for a workout.
"It was music to my ears because I had been working out for a long time just waiting on a call. When I finally got it, I came out here and showed what I can do. I was ready for it," he said. "It's frustrating because you feel like you've worked so hard, but sometimes you can't see the light at the end of the tunnel. That's just got to be your motivation to work even harder."
McClam earned a spot on the active roster, but he must catch up in a hurry. The third preseason game in Saturday in Jacksonville and the Eagles must reduce the roster to 75 by August 27. It's not much time to make an impression while McClam's new teammates are have been in Training Camp for over a month.
"I see it as a challenge," McClam said. "I've always been a person who liked challenges."
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