Nothing is ever a given when you enter the NFL as an undrafted rookie. Your mindset is defined by that snub and you know you will never be granted anything in the league. That's how Corey Clement approaches every day of his career, so when he was cleared for full-go practice recently and learned this week that he would start in Thursday night's preseason game against Baltimore, he understood the opportunity.
He knew he was in another prove-it situation.
"I'm sure they wanted to see it, which is why they put me out there," Clement said after making his 2019 preseason debut with seven carries for 25 rushing yards. "I wasn't shying away from anything. If anything, you have to step up when the opportunity presents itself. I'm definitely blessed and fortunate to be able to play this game. You know, coming back from an injury that put me out, so I'm happy to be out here and showing what I can still do."
What Clement can do is provide the Eagles with yet another running back who has multiple skills. Clement showed some juice right off the bat, gaining 4 yards on a run up the middle on the game's first play from scrimmage and then converting a third-and-6 play by getting around the right edge for an 11-yard gain. Clement also blocked extremely well in pass protection and provided quality reps for a coaching staff that wanted to see him in his first action since suffering a knee injury in the December 9 overtime loss at Dallas.
Clement is back.
And the Eagles are better for it.
"It was fun. I got a chance to get back out there and play some football again. It's been since December, so getting back with the first team and just getting the feel back into the game. It was awesome," Clement said. "I wanted to keep going, to be honest. I felt as though we were still clicking. Some penalties kept setting us back. I felt as if we were getting a good groove. The linemen did a great job of being on their side of the line of scrimmage. I was hungry for more so I'm still hungry for it."
The Eagles still have some questions to answer at running back, but it looks like the room is shaping up to be a team strength with Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders, Darren Sproles, and Clement pretty certain to make the 53-man roster. Whether the Eagles keep a fifth running back and who that might be remains to be seen. Having Clement, who is so valuable in the backfield and on special teams, healthy and on his game is a big plus.
Now that Clement has the rust knocked off, he's looking for more. Gamedays and nights are what it's all about for him.
"Oh yeah, it felt good. Just like I said, getting into the mix again, getting things early right out the gun," he said. "We knew the game plan coming into this game was I was going to be starting the game off and I was excited. I couldn't really sleep so today was a good day to be back out there playing football."