Eagles first-round pick Jeremy Maclin arrived at Philadelphia airport this morning and was at Lehigh by midday to sign his contract, ending a holdout that had gone on for nine days.
"It's been a little hard," Maclin said when asked about missing the start of training camp. "Obviously, I am a competitive guy and I want to be out here playing, but it is what it is and I'm looking forward to seeing what the future has in store."
Asked what the issue was that led to the delay, Maclin said, "When it comes to football, especially in the NFL, I think there is a business part of it first and sometimes you've got to get that figured out. This may be the only contract, so sometimes you've got to do what's best and get that first one right. But like I said, I'm looking forward to moving on."
Maclin met with coach Andy Reid when he signed the 5-year, $15.5 million deal and then met with reporters. He was not on the field for special teams practice this afternoon but is expected for tomorrow morning's practice.
Reid has been stressing the importance of players being in camp to learn the system and had gotten more stern on the issue as the week progressed. Asked how far behind he was, Maclin said, "I have no idea. I guess I will find out tomorrow morning."
Maclin also said he did not think there were any "hard feelings" with the coach after he met with him.
Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg was also asked how far behind he thought Maclin might be.
"We'll see what his retention was from the minicamps and it's my responsibility to get him ready and we've got one of the very best receiver coaches in this league and he takes that responsibility seriously as well," he said. "So, we'll see what happens here and he's got a lot of catching up to do. However, he's a real sharp guy, he's a natural football player and so we'll see how quickly he can get himself ready."
Clearly, though, Maclin will be on the clock in terms of getting up to speed.
"I'm just going to go with the flow and take things as they come," he said. "I think I'm a pretty intelligent guy so hopefully I can take in a lot of things and embed it in my memory and get going."
Mornhinweg said" "There's a process to it and it's just going to be so fast for him when he gets here because we've installed about half of all the plays through training camp. So, we're going to expedite it. We're going to see how quick he can pick everything up and we're going to get him a lot of reps. It will be taxing mentally and physically on him and we'll see how quick he can do it. If he struggles a little bit we'll back off just a little bit, let him catch his breath and then we'll move on."
Maclin, the 19th pick overall, from Missouri, spent last week in Philadelphia, moving into his New Jersey home and then returned to St. Louis on Friday. "I was kinda getting used to Philly life," Maclin said of his time in the area.
He said he and quarterback Donovan McNabb were exchanging text messages throughout camp. Maclin was amongthe players who took part in McNabb's workouts in Arizona.
"Yeah, that will be the number one guy I go to," Maclin said of McNabb. "I mean, outside of the coaches, he's the guy who's running the show ... I'm looking forward to talking to him and getting back on track."
To make room on the roster for Jason Babin and Matt Wilhelm, the Eagles released defensive end Jervonte Jackson, cornerback Courtney Robinson and wide receiver Marcus Thigpen.
To read our report from the morning practice and the Eagles adding two players, click here.