The odds for running back Martell Mallett to earn a roster spot might not be favorable, but that's nothing new for him. He was in the same exact situation just a year ago when he was trying to break into the Canadian Football League with the British Columbia Lions.
"I was the rookie of the year last year when many people didn't expect me to make the team," the 6-0, 210-pound Mallett said after a recent OTA.
After earning the league's most outstanding rookie honor and being named to the West Division All-Star team, Mallett could have stayed north of the border and continued a successful stint. But Mallett's dream was always to play in the NFL and he's not going to settle for being one of the best where the football isn't of the highest caliber.
"I'm trying to put that behind me. It's a new chapter in my life," Mallett said. "I'm just looking ahead and trying to member of the Eagles and help them win some games."
Since the start of the off-season conditioning program in March, Mallett has been at the NovaCare Complex almost every day studying the offense and getting himself in the best shape possible. In the CFL, Mallett played in a spread offense with 12 men on the field. After getting entrenched in that offense, he is now relearning the Eagles' West Coast offense.
"Just like I did last year, I adjusted and that's what I'm trying to do now," Mallett said.
Mallett played his college football at Arkansas-Pine Bluff where he earned All-Southwestern Conference honors as a senior in 2008. He finished his college career with 2,896 rushing yards and 27 touchdowns. He also caught 50 passes for 490 yards and another score. Last year in Canada, Mallett rushed for 1,240 yards and six scores.
As a one-cut, hit-the-hole-type runner, it's certainly tough for Mallett to showcase his physical style in these non-contact OTAs. Mallett understands that and is perfectly fine with honing the mental aspects of the Eagles offense.
"Knowing where you're supposed to go. Knowing which man you're supposed to pick up. Right now, it's more mental than it is physical," Mallett said. "I'm in the playbook and in the film room everyday trying to get better. No games, just work."
The Eagles fortified the running back stable in the off-season with the addition of veteran Mike Bell and the selection Charles Scott in the draft. LeSean McCoy is already penciled in as the starter. But Mallett was in the same position just a year ago. And if the same results happen, that would be just fine with him.
"It's pretty tough, but I came in to work and not pay attention to all of that other stuff that's going on around me," Mallett said.
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 11:25 a.m., May 28