BETHLEHEM --- Running back Mike Bell felt he was in the best shape of his career, but the Eagles were only three days into full-squad practices when Bell caught a pass running across the field, then suddenly let go of the ball, grabbed his left hamstring, and hit the ground, yelling.
"I put in so much hard work this summer, and I felt so good, I felt like I was having a good camp. When that happened, I just saw everything that happened my whole career just flash before my eyes," Bell said today. "I was like, 'not again.' Regardless of (reassurances about), injuries, being that this is a business, they gotta move on. My thing is, I don't want to ever fall out of the grace of the coaches, and I feel like that's what happened the last two places I was at (Denver and New Orleans). I think injuries caused my demise. But it feels different here."
That apparently was the impetus behind Bell's animated chat with Marty Mornhinweg a few days ago, the offensive coordinator calming Bell, who is frustrated that he has not been able to show his new team what he can do. Mornhinweg made sure Bell knew he will still get every chance to prove his worth.
But as Bell noted, regardless, life moves on. One thing that has happened in the nine days of workouts since Bell went down is that returning RB Eldra Buckley, who seemed to have little shot at a roster spot when camp began, has stood out. Not to say there won't be roster spots for both, but Buckley has seized an opportunity that might not have been there if Bell had stayed healthy.
Bell, who said he had right hamstring problems the previous two training camps, took part in some drills today and said he feels he will be full-strength within a few days.
Wideouts are pro football's divas, and Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson seemed to be having some sort of minor spat toward the end of today's practice, with Maclin speaking animatedly and Jackson shaking his head. They walked off the field together, apparently having patched it up.
Jackson still isn't talking to reporters, but Maclin said later the dispute wasn't serious.
"It's training camp, man," he said. "Just a mixup. It was nothing major, man. It's over and done with," he said. "We're still cool."
Maclin wouldn't say what was in dispute, other than to deny that it had anything to do with who was the bigger star.
Wide receiver Kelley Washington was carted off the field this morning, but Washington said afterward that he "cramped up a little bit," and was fine. He then continued a brisk walk to lunch.