It's been an awfully busy week for the Eagles. On Wednesday, tackle Jason Peters was signed to a new five-year contract. The following day, Jason Kelce and Riley Cooper were each signed to long-term deals. On Friday, the Eagles capped off the action by re-signing wide receiver Jeremy Maclin to a one-year deal.
Like his three teammates before him, Maclin made it very clear that Philadelphia was where he wanted to be, which is why he signed his contract before the official start of free agency on March 11.
"This is the place I wanted to be," Maclin told the media Friday. "This is where I was most interested in what was going on. Reports came out (about other teams being interested), but the Eagles expressed that they wanted me back and I think by them offering me a long-term deal, I feel like that made me comfortable enough to know that I'm in their long-term plans. Hopefully, come midseason, we'll be able to do something long-term while I'm here.
"This is the outcome that I wanted. Obviously, you have to go through the process, everybody has to come to an agreement, and it's stressful at times and it's hard at times but you have to have trust on both sides. You have to have trust in your agent, you have to have trust in yourself and trust in the organization that if both sides want to get you here, they'll get you back. The Eagles were saying that all along and we finally made something happen."
Since being selected by the Eagles in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft, Maclin has been an incredibly consistent weapon in the Eagles offense. The University of Missouri product amassed over 700 receiving yards each of his first four seasons, with his best season coming in 2010 when he hauled in 70 receptions for 964 yards and 10 touchdowns. Maclin has caught a total of 258 passes since 2009, the most ever by an Eagle in his first four seasons.
Eagles fans were excited to see how the versatile receiver would fit into Chip Kelly's offense in 2013, but they never got that chance, as Maclin tore his ACL during a seven-on-seven drill during last season's Training Camp in late July. Since then, the five-year pro has been hard at work rehabbing his knee, while serving as a mentor for some of the Eagles younger receivers. Now, he is looking forward to finally showing what he can do in Kelly's offense.
"I'm excited to get a chance to play in Chip's offense," Maclin said. "I'm excited to be able to help this team get to the next level. I think this is a place where I can showcase all of my skills and I'm comfortable around all of my teammates and the guys who have been here. I think this is the right spot for me.
"I think I bring a lot of different things to the table. I don't think that there is just one thing that I do that can help this team. My ability to be versatile, my ability to be able to do everything that a receiver needs to do is what's going to help. My ability to beat man-to-man coverage is a big one, so that's what I'm looking forward to."
Maclin's knee injury occurred nearly seven months ago to the day, and while the receiver admitted that it initially felt like a huge blow to deal with, he was able to get through it thanks to a strong support staff.
"Initially when it happened, I was bummed," Maclin told PhiladelphiaEagles.com. "I was emotional, I was angry, I was upset and I didn't know why it had to happen to me, especially at the time that it did, going into my contract year. But the more that I thought about it, I understood that everything happens for a reason. I have a very good, supportive cast behind me and they all talked to be and explained everything to me – my agent, my (mothers), my father-figure, my family – everybody kind of helped me get over that hump of not feeling sorry for myself and come back stronger and come back the way that I know that I can."
As the 25-year old receiver continues his rehab process, the idea of contributing to help the Eagles win is the only motivation that he needs.
"I'm going to be motivated no matter what," Maclin said when asked about feeling the need to prove his worth for a long-term contract. "I'm never going to go out there and play based off of money. I want to win. I saw reports saying that I could have gotten more money someplace else or whatever, but it's never really been about that for me. I'm excited … It's not really all about the money.
"My will to play football is what motivates me every day. Obviously, I saw the offense and I saw how guys were successful, and that's something that I want to be a part of. My competitive nature, the type of person I am- I'm going to be motivated to go out there and attack this rehab and come back better and stronger."
Maclin said that it's difficult to put a "tracker" on where he is with his rehab, but he did add that he should be ready to go for the start of this season's Training Camp. He also said that he believes that the Eagles are on the verge of something special, and for that reason, he is glad that the Eagles have believed in him enough to sign him to a new contract.
"I'm just confident, and I think that maybe there are certain things that you can't explain, but I'm confident," Maclin said with a smile. "I'm really happy with how rehab has been going and with where I am considering how long I've been out of surgery, and I just know what type of person that I am. I think the Eagles do too, and just knowing what we've gone through in this process, I think that they believe in me too."
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