Jeremy Maclin watches the Eagles' practice on Sunday from the sidelines a day after tearing his ACL. (AP)
While the Eagles held their first of five open practices at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday afternoon, Jeremy Maclin limped along the sideline.
Maclin tore his ACL in practice at the NovaCare Complex a day earlier and almost certainly will miss the 2013 season.
“I was devastated,” Maclin said Sunday. “It wasn’t the fact that it hurt, it was the fact that I knew what happened. I was emotional just knowing everything at stake. This is something I love to do. I love to play football.”
Asked if he’ll return this year, Maclin said, “I highly doubt it.”
Even if the Eagles make the playoffs?
“Obviously I would love for that to happen, but at this point in my career I have to make sure that I’m 100 percent," he said.
Especially considering his contract situation. The injury will likely cost Maclin leverage when it comes time to negotiate his next deal (see story). He’s now entering the final year of his rookie contract.
Asked if he regretted his decision not to hold out and pursue a new deal this summer, Maclin didn’t want to speculate.
“I can’t think like that,” Maclin said. “I think the minute you start doing that you start doubting yourself, and that’s not the type of person I am.”
Maclin is slated to have his knee operated on by Dr. James Andrews in Alabama on Aug. 6 and will rehab in Philadelphia. Dr. Andrews also performed the surgery on Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III’s torn ACL and LCL.
Griffin is one of several players who reached out to Maclin upon hearing the news (see story), and the fifth-year wide receiver is grateful for the support he’s received from those around the league.
“It was cool. Everybody in the NFL and the players in the NFL understand what we go through on a day-to-day basis," Maclin said. "They know that at any given time everything that you worked hard for can be taken away.”
This is the second time Maclin has ruptured his right ACL, having done so previously in the summer of 2006 while at the University of Missouri. Maclin confirmed that the tear of his ACL is, in fact, a complete tear.
According to Maclin, the timetable for his first surgery was as follows: “I had surgery in August, by February I was running 40s (yard dashes), and then I went through spring ball with no brace on.”
That timetable tentatively puts Maclin on track to resume football-related activities in six months.
The Eagles will now be forced to make due without Maclin (see story), who was looking forward to flourishing in Chip Kelly’s high-octane offense. He led all Eagles receivers last season with 69 receptions for 857 yards and seven touchdowns.
“I thought I had the ability to shine in this offense,” Maclin said. “With my skill set and with me being very intelligent, I think they had the ability to put me in several different places to be successful and help the team be successful.”
Riley Cooper replaced Maclin during Sunday’s practice and appears to be the odds-on favorite to start opposite DeSean Jackson should the Eagles decide to promote from within.
Since being drafted in 2010, Cooper has 46 receptions (including a career-high 23 last season) for 679 yards and five touchdowns. He entered camp on the roster bubble. Now the fourth-year pro has his best opportunity to prove he's a starter.
As for Maclin ...
“Rehab is going to be my season.”