Eagles WRs Jeremy Maclin and Steve Smith practiced with the team for the first time this year today. Maclin had previously missed all of training camp as he underwent tests for a undetermined illness that was feared to be cancer. Last week, he was given a clean bill of health and declared that he would be ready to start the season.
That Maclin was going to return to practice was a foregone conclusion, but to hear that Smith is back comes as somewhat of a surprise. The Eagles signed the former pro bowler away from the Giants in a shock move this summer. However, coming off knee surgery last December there was real doubt that he may not be ready to start the season. Both Smith and the team have remained positive about his chances to avoid the PUP list to start he year. If he does end up on PUP, he will miss the first six games of the year.
But seeing him return to practice is certainly a step in the right direction. If Smith were to play in Thursday’s preseason finale against the Jets, that would be an even greater indicator that he could be ready to contribute early this year. Smith says that plans to be ready.
"I think I'll be able to [play week one], it's up to what the coaches and trainers want me to do. I'm feeling good, and as long as we have no setbacks, that's what I'm shooting for."
As for Maclin, he’s perfectly healthy so the focus for him will be to get his fitness level up to the point in needs to be. He’s got a little over two weeks for that happen, and he feels confident he'll be up to the task.
"I think this week they're going to ease me into it and monitor my reps, and then they'll let me loose next week." Maclin says, "I don't know what that entails, but I think I'm going to back to being the same guy I was before this."
There’s been no word on whether he’ll play at all in the final preseason game, but Maclin says he's up for if they want him to.
"I have no idea. A lot of times, the ones don't play in that game. I'm going to get some consideration since I haven't played in the preseason yet, but that's all up to the coaches and what they want to do."