By Joseph Santoliquito
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) —That misstep that the recovering 4-12 Eagles and new coach Chip Kelly could ill afford came with one breathless gasp on Saturday, when Jeremy Maclin crumbled to the ground on the second day of Eagles’ training camp at the NovaCare Complex.
Maclin suffered a torn the anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament in his right knee during 7-on-7 drills (see related story).
Maclin, who caught 69 passes for 857 yards and seven touchdowns last season, was on the field for five minutes before being carted off.
Maclin’s injury sent a shockwave through the Eagles, who were supposed to be relying heavily on the quicksilver combination of Maclin and DeSean Jackson in Kelly’s rapid-fire offensive scheme.
If Maclin’s injury is season-ending, the timing couldn’t be any worse for him or the Eagles. Maclin is in a contract year and the Eagles have shown an inclination to re-sign him. He’s been the perfect complement to Jackson, who, combined, arguably encompass the fastest set of receivers in the NFL.
Maclin’s loss would place even more impact on the diminutive Jackson, whose numbers have steadily dropped the previous two years. He may not be the receiver he once was before the concussive shot by the Atlanta Falcons’ Dunta Robinson during a game October 17, 2010.
“It’s an unfortunate situation that’s hopefully not too bad,” said Jackson about the Maclin injury, further adding that he hadn’t been in contact with Maclin yet. “Hopefully, it’s not too bad. Anytime a player comes off the field on a stretch there is a concern. I hope he’s all right. If he’s not going to be out on the field, someone is going to have to step up and get the job done. But we’re not going to take that step yet until we know for sure what’s wrong with Mac.”
During the injury, Jackson said, he kept telling Maclin to “stay strong.”
“The biggest thing we can do is hope for the best, regardless of him going down and seeing him in pain like that,” Jackson said. “On the field, [Maclin] does a great job. He takes pressure off myself and he’s able to go there and make big plays, like myself. Anytime you have a guy like that and can release a double-team and triple-teams, that’s a huge addition.”
Kelly has said he could see Jackson becoming a great player, that it’s within him to be one of the premier receiver in the NFL. Jackson said he takes that on as a great challenge.
“As a player, that’s what you want, to do what I need to do to be great,” Jackson said. “I’ve done some great things the past couple of years, but being injured, but look three years before that, there were off-the-chart numbers. I’m just looking to get back to that. I think I’m a good position to do that, and be in the correct spot to do whatever it is I have to do.”