EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin stepped to his locker after his shower following Sunday's season-ending win over the Giants and let out a deep breath.
It was the end of a career year for Maclin, a year that saw him catch 85 passes for 1,318 yards, within five catches and 90 yards of setting team records in both categories.
But Sunday also marked the Eagles' final game of the season, a year full of potential cut short before the postseason.
Maclin's long breath was filled with satisfaction at a job well done, but also tinged with the regret that he wouldn't have a chance to play more football this season.
"It's bittersweet," Maclin said, sitting at his locker after the game. "We wanted to finish together, but at the same time it is frustrating that we're not going to be in the playoffs. We take responsibility for that. We had every opportunity to do that, and we didn't get the job done."
The sixth-year wideout said he was happy with the way the team finished the season off, topping the division-rival Giants 34-26 on their turf. It took character for the Eagles to come out and band together for the year-capping win, and it was far more comforting than ending the year with a loss.
Maclin expected his team to get the job done Sunday, saying it was "not hard to believe we won."
But in the end, the Eagles have played their last football until 2015.
"We can't go back in time," Maclin said, matter of factly. "The season's over."
The Eagles conclude the 2014 season at MetLife Stadium against the New York Giants with an eye on reaching 10 wins for the second straight season ...
And with the end of the season comes the question of Maclin's future. He signed a one-year deal before the season began, which means he's one of seven unrestricted free agent heading into next year. He's spent all six seasons with the Eagles, and has said in the past weeks that he would definitely like to return to the team if possible.
He said after Sunday's game that, while football is a business, it's always easier to play alongside guys you care about, as he did on Sunday.
"When you're playing for something like playing for the guy next to you, playing for the guy across from you, it makes it that much sweeter," Maclin said.
It's what brought the sweetness to Maclin's bittersweet ending to the season: the knowledge that, while he and his teammates won't be taking the field again next weekend, they capped this chapter off with a win.