By Joseph Santoliquito
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) —It had an uh-oh quality as soon as it happened. Fans, players, coaches and media took a quick inventory as to who it wasn’t. An eye scan said it wasn’t LeSean McCoy, or DeSean Jackson. It had a “somebody” reaction when coaches, medical staff and players ran over to see who was hurt–starting wide receiver Jeremy Maclin
What began as speculation the Eagles confirmed as fact, when the team announced Saturday afternoon that Maclin tore the ACL in his right knee during 7-on-7 drills on the second day of Eagles’ training camp at the NovaCare Complex.
Maclin has suffered this same injury before, tearing the ACL in his right knee during summer training camp as a freshman at Missouri in 2006.
Maclin could be lost for the season, and in all probability will be. It’s a serious early blow to the Eagles, who are trying to recover from the horrible 4-12 stumble last year and to new coach Chip Kelly’s grand scheme of a speedy offense.
Now one major competent of that speedy equation is gone in Maclin, who caught 69 passes for 857 yards and 7 touchdowns last season and averaged 65 catches, 863 yards per season and 6.5 touchdowns a season in his four-year NFL career.
Maclin feels he could be back before the end of the season. He tweeted: “Appreciate all the love and support twitter fam….sad day but I have setbacks my entire life. Minor setback … ”
Maclin’s loss places more pressure on the tiny DeSean Jackson, whose numbers have steadily declined the previous two years and has not been the same since the concussive blow he received by the Atlanta Falcons’ Dunta Robinson on October 17, 2010.
It also places the other starting spot up for grabs among the less-capable Riley Cooper, unproven Arrelious Benn, who has a history of knee and shoulder injuries, and sure-handed veteran Jason Avant.
Maclin’s loss also opens a door for speedy, though light, Demaris Johnson, who caught 19 passes for 256 yards last season and the chance the Eagles could tap a veteran free agent, among them, such notables as Randy Moss, Chad Johnson, Brandon Lloyd, Brandon Stokley, Deion Branch, Jabar Gaffney and Steve Breaston.