Forgive the teammates of the 358-pound offensive linemen if they have to take a second look at the guy who used to top the scales around 400 pounds.
"I walk around and people are like, 'Is that Max Jean-Gilles?'" said Jean-Gilles, who had lap-band surgery in the off-season and has trimmed down significantly since. "I'm just like, 'Yeah, it's me. How are you doing?'"
Jean-Gilles calls the surgery "the best thing I've ever done," and said his quality of life has vastly improved. He eats mainly soups and salads and avoids meats, because meats "don't go down that well." But football is a business, and so the pertinent question for the Eagles is how Jean-Gilles' play on the field has been affected.
"I'm just out there now being natural, being an athlete and playing football," Jean-Gilles said of the change in his game. "I'm running after plays, after catches, running after receivers downfield trying to get extra blocks, so I feel pretty good."
With Todd Herremans and Jamaal Jackson absent for much of training camp and the preseason, Jean-Gilles has worked as the first-team left guard, starting at the spot in both of the team's first two preseason games. With Herremans set to return to action this Friday against the Kansas City Chiefs, Jean-Gilles will likely slide back to the bench. And when Jackson returns to health, Nick Cole is likely to become the top interior backup. But the versatility to play both the left and right guard positions makes Jean-Gilles, who is in a "contract year" after signing his original-round tender this off-season, a valuable member of the offensive line.
"The Eagles know what I can do," Jean-Gilles said. "Any time someone goes down, they know they can call my name up and I'm going to produce. They drafted me, so I feel pretty comfortable."
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 12:13 p.m., August 25