With Cody Parkey's addition to the Pro Bowl roster on Monday, nine Eagles have been selected to the NFL's all-star game ...
For Jeremy Maclin, it's always been about the team. That's why even after one of the best seasons by a wide receiver in Eagles history, Maclin's main thought at the end of the year was that the team was on the outside looking in come playoff time.
"It's bittersweet. Obviously, to be able to come back and perform has been great, but you want to be playing after December," Maclin said before the regular season finale in December. "That's what it boils down to."
It turns out Maclin was wrong. He will be playing football after December at the site of the Super Bowl, no less. On Friday night, the NFL announced that Maclin will replace Denver's Demaryius Thomas at the Pro Bowl. It is Maclin's first Pro Bowl nomination and it comes after missing the entire 2013 campaign with an ACL injury.
"I think back to the injury and the days after and it was very hard. I put in a lot of time alongside guys like Jason Phillips, Arrelious Benn and Philip Hunt, who are gone from the team now. I want to thank the entire training staff for helping me, with a particular nod to Joe O'Pella for the work and the time he put in with me. The coaching staff and the entire organization really supported me. My family was there for me the whole time, as they always are. It was truly a group effort and I recognize that," said Maclin after being named the team's recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award in October.
Maclin finished with career highs in receptions (85) and yards receiving (1,318). He tied a career high with 10 touchdowns. It was the first 1,000-yard season for the 2009 first-round draft pick. Maclin's receiving-yardage total was the third best in team history and his reception total was fourth.
With Maclin's combination of size, speed, athleticism and tenacity, it's no surprise that he has flourished in the Eagles' offense. The road to Friday's announcement began on July 28, 2013 - the day after Maclin's season-ending injury.
"The injury happened on a Saturday and I was devastated. I was emotional. I talked to my family, I talked to my mom, I talked to Chip Kelly and I talked to Howie Roseman and then, and this is the truth, I put it all behind me the next day. I accepted that it happened and I set about attacking the work that was ahead of me.
"It certainly wasn't easy. There were plenty of rough days. There were days when I didn't feel like working and days when I was sore and times when my knee felt so bad that I thought that I would never get back to where I was prior to the injury. All of that and more went through my mind."
Maclin's teammates bestowed upon him the Ed Block Courage Award and they were not one bit surprised to see him be the focal point of the third-best passing attack in the NFC.
"He possesses a different element to the game, so you've got to really cover this guy on his routes. He's a guy that can take a hit, and if you miss the tackle he can go 80 yards for a touchdown. He's the best guy we've got on the team," said cornerback Cary Williams. "Ever since I've been here, he's been a hard worker. He's been one of the most diligent guys on the offense in my opinion. Barring the injury, I thought he was going to have great success last year. It's just unfortunate that he had an injury and was forced to sit out. So this year, it's really no surprise. I've seen his hard work and what he puts into it. He deserves everything he's going to get."
Maclin opened the season with a 68-yard touchdown in the win over Jacksonville, but it was in Week 3 against division-rival Washington when he truly declared that he was back. Maclin posted eight catches for 154 yards and the go-ahead fourth-quarter touchdown in the win. Maclin had four 100-yard games including back-to-back 150-yard, two-touchdown outings against Arizona and Houston.
"To be part of this team and this organization, it's just great. I've always wanted to be someone that my teammates and coaches can always rely on, and I have done that," Maclin said. "I want to be out there and be reliable for my team and that's pretty much all I can do."