The Eagles selected wide receivers Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson on the third day of the NFL Draft. Both players can deliver big plays for the offense ...
It is good, very good, to be back in a football routine, Mack Hollins acknowledges. The workdays last for 10 hours, plus private study time back at the hotel, but Hollins is loving every bit of it. He's been an Eagle for three weeks and change now, and he's ready for the next test: Organized Team Activities against veteran players followed by a mandatory minicamp.
"It's going to be fun," Hollins said, "going up against the veterans."
A fourth-round draft pick, Hollins is living The Rookie Life, which is a lot less glamorous than it actually is. While he hammed it up in Los Angeles over the weekend at the NFLPA-run Rookie Premiere – posing for pictures with his uniform on, hobnobbing with marketing executives, and learning what opportunities are out there.
"Basically, you find out about them and see if you are interested in them and they get to know you and see if they want you to be on their team," he said.
Everything is business, he understands.
"My vision of what it would be like is kind of how it's been, but it's been more enjoyable than I expected," Hollins said. "For sure, locker room-wise it's been better. The rookies have blended in well. We've mixed in much more than I thought with the veterans. I thought we would be more separated. That's not the way it is. We're right into the mix.
"The workdays, it's been good. Football is football. I've been playing football my whole life and, honestly, after all of those months before the draft out of my routine, it's good to be back in it. I love it."
Hollins has his Groundhog Day routine day already: He wakes up in the team hotel at 6 a.m., jumps in a van at 6:30 a.m., and is taken to the NovaCare Complex. Rookies get in the weight room for a stretch and a lift by 7:15 and then take some time to fuel up for the morning.
Hollins eats the same breakfast every day, for the most part – a couple of blueberries on top of strawberries on top of blueberries, scrambled eggs, two sausages (links or patties), hash browns and bacon, a shot glass of M&M's, and two bottles of water.
And the day is underway.
From the meeting room to the practice field and then back to the meeting room, with some time for lunch, it's all football and learning the playbook and understanding, at the very core, some of the nuances of the X's and O's. By the time it's later in the afternoon, the players are in Rookie Orientation, learning the financial side of the game, where to live in and around Philadelphia, being a rookie in the locker room, handling business off the field, learning about domestic violence and alcohol abuse, drug information.
"It's about being a rookie with this organization, and it covers everything," Hollins said. "This is our first time, so you want to learn everything you can."
By late afternoon, the vans head back to the hotel. Hollins has walked back if he lingers at the Complex, a good opportunity to clear his head and breathe deeply.
At the hotel, Hollins is in his tablet studying the playbook. He admits he hasn't called his mother enough, but he's busy trying to make it in the NFL. Nothing is going to be given to Hollins, and he knows it.
"Man, these last three or four months have been about shaking hands, hearing people tell you how great you are. I'm glad it's over and I'm glad I'm here," Hollins said. "It's back to football and you find out how who can really play and who's just a Combine guy. You find out the truth now, so I love it. I love the challenge.
"For me, it hasn't been about the glamour at all. That's not me. Even in L.A., I knew it was just about getting somebody in a uniform and it just happened to be me. That stuff isn't what I'm all about. I'm here to play football to the best of my ability," he said. "I like Coach (Mike, wide receivers) Groh a lot. The Eagles paid a lot of attention to me before the draft so I was kind of leaning toward them and I couldn't be happier to be here.
"Now, I've got to get better every day and see what happens. So far, though, it's been cool. Really good."
Another test starts with the OTAs against the veterans. And then it's the mandatory minicamp and a month off before the biggest challenge: Training Camp.
"I'm here to play my best football and help the Eagles win," Hollins said. "Take it day by day and push myself each day. That's what I like to do. That's why I'm here."