When Jeremy Maclin got up after lying on the ground for about 30 seconds at the end of practice earlier this week, chances are Chip Kelly and Howie Roseman let out a collective sigh of relief.
Maclin grabbed his left knee initially after an incompletion in the end zone, but said afterwards that he was fine.
The veteran wide receiver is coming off a torn ACL in his right knee suffered last summer. He signed a one-year deal with the Eagles as a free agent but has hopes of sticking around for awhile.
Coaches and general managers sometimes try to manage expectations for players coming off of injuries. Kelly and Roseman, however, have done quite the opposite.
Asked about how long it takes for players to recover from ACL injuries, Roseman said earlier this offseason: "I think it depends on the player. We saw Adrian Peterson come back after six months, and did he win the MVP award after that? So I think it depends on the genetics. And all I know is what our doctors are telling us, and he’s doing a great job in his rehab. We fully expect him to be ready to go once the season starts."
It's one thing to say you expect Maclin to be a healthy contributor. It's another to bring up one of the freakiest athletes in the game and a guy who rushed for 2,097 yards after the ACL injury. But that's what Roseman did.
And he's not alone. After the draft, Kelly was asked if he felt the Eagles could still challenge teams downfield without DeSean Jackson.
"We've got guys," he said, interrupting the question. "Mac is a first‑round draft choice, and it was kind of really tough not only on him but on us that we lost him last year. How dynamic could we have been if we had an opportunity to keep him in the mix?"
Added Nick Foles: "He's going to be a huge part of this offense."
Maybe those around Maclin are just really encouraged by his progress. Maybe they want to make sure he knows they're confident in him. Whatever the case, they're setting the bar high.
During practices open to the media, Maclin and Riley Cooper have been the starting outside receivers. And barring injury, that figures to be the case when the team opens up its season at the Linc against the Jaguars in September.
Cooper and Jackson both had career years playing in Kelly's system last season. In 2014, the head coach and general manager are making it clear they're counting on Maclin to do the same