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Maclin Expects To Emerge As Leader


Phase one of the offseason program began Monday, bringing with it the return of nearly every player on the roster to the NovaCare Complex. Little has changed for Jeremy Maclin, though, as the wide receiver has spent his entire offseason rehabbing in Philadelphia and preparing for what he considers a big season ahead.

Maclin, of course, is coming off a season lost to a torn ACL suffered during Training Camp. After re-signing with the Eagles on a one-year deal, the 25-year-old former first-round pick expects big things during his contract year 2.0. He also expects no hindrances once the Eagles get on the field.

"I'll be out there (for OTAs)," Maclin said Thursday. "Maybe I won't get as many reps as I would normally get. If this was Training Camp, I would be clear to go out there and train and everything else.

"A lot of it's mental. Obviously with the surgeries nowadays and the rehab process, you come back a lot stronger than what you were initially. Like I said, I'm happy just to be out there running around. I'm really, really, really excited about where I am right now."

Injury aside, all eyes will no doubt be on Maclin as he and the offense move forward without last year's leading receiver, DeSean Jackson.

"We're going to be fine," Maclin said. "Honestly, DeSean's one of the better playmakers in this league, but we're moving forward and I think we'll be just fine … I've got faith in the offense and I've got faith in the guys we have in the locker room and out there on the football field. (Head coach) Chip (Kelly) said it himself. The offense is not built around one guy. We have multiple guys who can go out there and make plays. I'm looking forward to seeing what we can do this year."

"As far trying to replace somebody, I'm not here to replace anybody. There's nobody to replace. I'm going to go out there and do my thing and do what the coaches ask me to do. That's not only be the best football player but be the best person I can be. I think once you do that, now you're reaching your full potential as a player, as a person and guys respect you for that."

Jackson, though, is not the only receiver the Eagles will need to replace. Though Jason Avant ranked only sixth on the team in receiving last season, the veteran's presence as a leader leaves a hole to be filled. Maclin expects that to be role into which he will grow.

"You're going to have guys need to step up and fill that void," Maclin said. "One thing that I can say about Jason, the way he worked, you're not going to walk out onto the field and outwork Jason. You may work just as good as Jason, but you're not going to outwork him and I think that's one thing that you can respect and I think that's one thing that I salute him for. I think when your younger guys come up and they see one of your veteran guys who's seven, eight, nine years into the league working like that, they understand that this is the way that it's done. I think that's one thing that other guys are going to have to pick up.

"I'm going to try to be one of those guys. For sure."

After all, considering Brad Smith's relative inexperience at the position, Maclin is the most veteran receiver on the Eagles roster. In fact, he has nearly 2,000 more career receiving yards than Riley Cooper, the second-most productive receiver on the roster.

"Outside of Brad Smith, I am the oldest guy in the room as far as experience," Maclin said with a smile. "I've always kind of been a vocal guy, a guy who tries to encourage teammates and pick the team up a little bit. I think you'll see it filled in from a bunch of different guys. Not from the fact of preaching about it, but actually showing guys how to work.

"It's just all about doing the right things. At the end of the day, that's what you're doing. You show up to work. You do the right things. Be positive. Things are going to work out in your favor. It all comes down to doing the right things."

With the NFL Draft two weeks away, rumors will have you believe that Maclin's abilities as a selfless veteran leader could be tested with the introduction of an early-round pick at receiver. Would Maclin perceive a rookie as a threat to his spot or as a player to be mentored?

"I'm always curious to see what we do in the draft," Maclin said. "Anything that's going to make our team better, anything that's going to make our team win. I'm pretty sure those guys have a phenomenal plan upstairs and I'm looking forward to it.

"For those guys, I hope they do come in and make plays and be successful, but it doesn't always work like that. It doesn't matter where we get a guy, if a guy comes in, I hope he can come in and help our team win."

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