As the newest member of the 53-man active roster, wide receiver Paul Turner went to his locker after practice on Wednesday, and was instantly greeted by the media. It was a surreal moment for Turner, who then realized his new jersey number, 19, had been officially placed above his locker.
A rookie out of Louisiana Tech, Turner signed with the Eagles as a rookie free agent in the 2016 offseason. Turner had an impressive preseason stint, leading the team with 17 receptions for 165 yards. Since joining the Eagles' practice squad in September, Turner has been patiently waiting for his time to shine.
"Any player at this position, that's your goal," Turner said. "You come here with the mindset of being ready to play, but the coaches they see things and I'm a young player so I know I needed to work hard. Work on my routes and work on different things and develop even more and now the opportunity is here and now it's just time to seize the opportunity."
Being on the practice squad for the first 11 weeks allowed Turner the time to learn the game, the team, and most importantly, about himself as a player.
"I think the biggest thing I've learned is to be more aggressive, in and out of my routes," Turner explained.
"Going against guys like Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod each and every day in the slot, they really work you and they make you perfect your craft and I think going against guys like that has really helped me hone in on the little details, try to help improve myself overall and I just think it was a good opportunity to go against Pro Bowl guys like that and now it's time to seize the opportunity."
Although Turner has had the time to work against the Eagles' starting secondary, he hasn't had much of an opportunity to get a lot of reps with quarterback Carson Wentz. These final days before their matchup with the Packers should allow Turner and Wentz the time they need to reach a somewhat familiar comfort zone.
"You don't get much time at all," Turner said. "I get a lot of time with Chase (Daniel) so I've developed a great relationship with him. So now it's time to work with (Wentz) when I get my reps with the team."
Turner is the second wide receiver to get bumped up to the big stage from the practice squad, shortly following fellow rookie Bryce Treggs. Although Treggs is a speed threat on the outside, head coach Doug Pederson sees Turner as more of a slot receiver inside.
"In my opinion, I feel like I can play whatever they need me to play. Whether it's inside whether it's outside, whatever the team needs me to do I'll definitely do that," said Turner.
"For me it's not really about what I'm trying to bring. My biggest goal is to just go out here and just try to do my job and do whatever the coaches ask me to do and then just go out there a make plays and do whatever I can to help the team."