Jeremy Maclin heard the pop before he hit the ground and knew right away it was serious.
Maclin tore the ACL in his right knee during Saturday’s practice, the same injury he suffered at Missouri four years before the Philadelphia Eagles drafted him in the first round in 2010.
”I was devastated,” Maclin said Sunday after confirming he’s likely done for the season. ”It wasn’t the fact that it hurt, it was the fact that I knew what happened so I was emotional, knowing what was at stake. This is something that I love to do. I love to play football and knowing I’m not going to be able to do that, knowing that I’m not going to be a part of this new era here in Philly this year.
”Hopefully I’ll be around for a few more years to come. I’m going to rehab, get stronger and be better than I was before.”
Maclin is entering the final year of his rookie contract, and was set to cash in with a breakout season in new coach Chip Kelly’s high-octane offense.
”I thought that 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 and be successful, and help the team be successful, and it just (stinks) that I’m not going to be a part of that, but I think they have the guys out there who can still make this thing work.”
General manager Howie Roseman praised Maclin’s character and decision not to holdout for a new contract.
”Jeremy’s a heck of a player, great character, hard worker, he had a great offseason and it’s disappointing for him and it’s disappointing for us,” Roseman said. ”He’s 25 years old. He’ll come back from this. He’s overcome a lot of adversity in his life, he’s got tremendous character. We’re hurting for him but at the same time, we have to keep going and find guys.”
Riley Cooper took reps with the first team opposite starter DeSean Jackson in Sunday’s practice at the Linc. Veteran Jason Avant, Damaris Johnson and rookies Russell Shepard and Ifeanyi Momah also have a chance to compete for the starting spot.
”Obviously when you’re the No. 2 guy at the position, you have to step up,” Cooper said.
Maclin led the team with 69 catches for 857 yards and seven touchdowns last season. He has averaged 64 catches, 863 yards and six TDs in his first four seasons. His best year was in 2011 when he had 70 receptions for 964 yards and 10 TDs.
Maclin said he’ll have surgery next Tuesday. Dr. James Andrews will perform the operation in Alabama. Maclin plans to rehab in Philadelphia and be around the team.
”Everybody in the NFL, the players in the NFL understand and they know 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 from you. They feel the pain and they understand that when we go out there and play this game, we’re putting our bodies on the line. I appreciate all the support but just know that I’ll be back.”