By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun
PHILADELPHIA— Six months after wide receiver Jeremy Maclin felt his right knee buckle during seven-on-seven drills during training camp, the Eagles still considered the former Missouri star a valuable commodity for an explosive offense.
On Friday, Maclin and the Eagles came to terms on a one-year deal worth anywhere between $5.5 million to $6 million, $3.5 million guaranteed. Though the he and the team couldn’t agree on a multi-year package, Maclin said that a long-term deal with eventually come at some point during the season.
“There was a multi-year deal out there, but it just wasn’t what my particular side wanted, but we knew we wanted to be here. This was the way to get it done and for me to play football,” Maclin said. “This is the place that I wanted to be. This is where I was most interested in what was going on.
“The Eagles expressed that they wanted me back. By them offering me a long-term deal, I felt like that made me comfortable enough to know that I was in their long-term plans. Hopefully, come mid-season, we’ll be able to do something long-term while I’m here.”
Maclin said while he’s not 100 percent at this point, he expects to be ready by training camp. He said he is now running, cutting and lifting weights at this point and has made significant progress in the last six months since getting hurt.
Meanwhile, Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said the Birds are happy to have Maclin back and are looking forward to seeing what he can do in the offense with DeSean Jackson and Riley Cooper.
“We’re excited to have Jeremy back,” Roseman said. “That was our goal when we started the offseason. We drafted him in the first round and we excited about seeing what he do in this offense. He adds another weapon to this offense.”
After watching the entire 2013 season on the sidelines, Maclin made it clear that getting this one-year deal doesn’t mean he has to show how good he’s all the way back and that he’s 100 percent healed from the injury. He said he’s confident that he’ll be ready to go in 2014.
“I love when people say the one-year, prove it deal because in my eyes I’m not proving anything to anybody,” Maclin said. “I’m going out there and I’m playing football. I’m getting better. That’s kinda how I look at it. I don’t feel like I have to prove myself to anybody about anything. I’m still going to be out there competing. …I got a feeling my skills are going to get better each and every day.”
Before his injury in 2013, Maclin caught 69 passes for 857 yards and seven touchdowns during the 2012 season. He is the eighth receiver in NFL history to record 55 catches and 750 yards in his first four season in the league.
With all the weapons the Eagles already have offense, Maclin said he will get his fair share of touches in 2014.
“I think you got enough skill on this team and so why not utilize everybody,” Maclin said. “It’s something that myself and the team talked about. … I’m looking forward to making plays for you guys next year.”
Maclin spent virtually all of his time during the 2013 season and the offseason rehabbing his knee at the Eagles NovaCare facility in South Philadelphia. That enabled the coaching staff and team management to see him on an everyday basis and check his progress.
“It goes back to having guys that we know are going to be diligent about getting better,” Roseman said. “Maclin was in here every day. He was on the sideline and all the games every week.”
Even though it was Maclin’s second ACL injury in his football career dating back to his days at Missouri, Roseman said through all the research they’ve done that they are positive that Maclin will be back to his old self as a key contributor to the Birds offense.
If there was anything that motivated Maclin to get through the rigors of rehabbing his right knee, it was the success of the Eagles offense in 2013 with Nick Foles, LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson and Riley Cooper.
“My will to play football is what motivates me every day,” Maclin said. “Honestly, I’ve seen the offense. I see how guys were successful and that’s something that I want to be a part of. My competitive nature, the type of person that I am, I’m going to be motivated and go out there and attack this rehab and come back better and stronger.”