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Gilyard Aims For A New Start

It was make-a-move time for the Eagles on Tuesday as they not-so-surprisingly released 2011 second-round draft pick Jaiquawn Jarrett and added wide receiver Mardy Gilyard to make sure the wide receiver corps is fortified for Sunday's game against the Ravens.

With Riley Cooper out as he recovers from his broken collarbone and with Jeremy Maclin day to day with a hip flexor injury suffered in Cleveland, the Eagles reached out to Gilyard, who was terrific in the preseason with a couple of touchdown catches, sure hands and excellent route running in a just-short attempt to make the opening 53-man roster.

The release as the Eagles reached their initial 53-man roster was extremely disappointing for Gilyard, who felt he had been playing the best football of his career. He caught 9 passes for 151 yards and 2 touchdowns in the four preseason games.

"I was finally where I wanted to be with my routes, catching the ball and getting some yards after the catch," said Gilyard. "It was tough not making it. Very hard to take. But I went home to my family, stayed in shape, stayed patient and hoped for another chance and here I am.

"Walking into the NovaCare Complex was just great. Everybody was so glad to see me. It made me feel wanted right away. This is where I want to be -- in this offense, with these coaches and the people here. I'm ready to pick up where I left off."

Gilyard's release was a reminder of the unsettling nature of the NFL. He braced for the news, which was still jarring.

"I tell my friends that this is the greatest temporary job in the world," said Gilyard, chuckling. "You don't take anything for granted."

Will Gilyard play on Sunday? Maclin's health is most certainly day to day, and he's likely to miss some practice time as he rehabs from his injuries sustained in Cleveland. Every rep that Gilyard gets will be most welcomed.

"I can't wait until practice," he said. "I think I'm going to be the most excited player waiting to get back out there. I have to chill and make sure I'm not drained for practice. I want to make sure I'm at my best."

Gilyard's addition came at the expense of Jarrett, who just didn't step up and show the coaching staff enough to stay. The Eagles swung and missed on Jarrett, the Temple University product who showed only flashes of the physical style he played with in college. Jarrett saw all of his action on Sunday in Cleveland on special teams and was not as productive as he needed to be to keep a roster spot.

The Eagles have four safeties on the active roster -- starters Kurt Coleman and Nate Allen, along with reserves Colt Anderson and David Sims. Neither Anderson nor Sims was active for the opener, but at least one of them will be for the Ravens. 

Maybe, just maybe, Gilyard will be on the field as well. He certainly played well enough to earn a roster spot in the summer, but the Eagles had too many numbers at wide receiver. Maclin doesn't figure to be out of the lineup for long, if at all. How long will Gilyard stick around?

"I'm just here to play day by day and work hard and do my best," said Gilyard. "That's my focus. That's all I can control, so I'm going to go out there and play my best football.

"I have no doubt that I can play well in this league. I'm going to take advantage of every chance I get. I'm glad to be back and I'm just going to take it day by day and we'll see what  happens."

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