Quick Birds Audition Yields Faint Hope

Eagles Jorrick Calvin strips the ball from Jets receiver Santonio Holmes on Thursday. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

For Jorrick Calvin and Pannel Egboh, Thursday’s Eagles preseason finale was a beginning, as well as an end.

Cornerback Calvin and defensive end Egboh joined the Birds during the week, Calvin in a trade with Arizona, Egboh after being waived by the Texans. They played against the Jets knowing this would be their only chance to be evaluated by their new team before today’s 6 p.m. deadline to trim NFL rosters from 75 to 53. If theirs was not quite a hopeless task, it certainly cruised through that neighborhood.

“It went really well; I think I did pretty good,” Calvin said afterward. “Special teams wise, a couple good catches, a couple good runs, not too big, but just productive … defensivewise, I had a pretty good game. I had a couple tackles, missed a couple tackles.”

Unlike Egboh, who was released yesterday, Calvin has an outside chance at clinging to the edge of the roster, given that the Birds traded for him (their sixth-rounder, fullback Charles Scott), and given that Calvin was one of the 30 players the Eagles flew in for a predraft visit. Still, the fact that it’s September, the practice games are over, and he has very little idea what he’s supposed to do in Sean McDermott’s defense kind of argues against him.

“I knew a little bit, but not enough that I can play it to the full extent,” Calvin said after spending three quarters chasing Jets wideouts, learning on the fly.

So what’s he thinking now?

“I’m not thinking anything, I’m praying, actually,” Calvin said. “I’ll just leave it in God’s hands and go from there. If they saw something they liked, then I’ll be here next week.”

The one-game shot was worth taking for Calvin and Egboh for two reasons. They appeared on more game film, the currency of the NFL job-seeker. And even after they’re cut, both players are eligible for the eight-member practice squad, which is much better than being unemployed.

Calvin describes himself as a “lethal” returner. “Any kind of a break, I can take one,” he said.

Calvin averaged 28 yards on two kickoff returns and 12.5 yards on two punt returns (perhaps sealing the fate of undersized Chad Hall.) At corner, he forced a fumble.

Egboh’s sack forced a fumble, and he tripped up a running back trying to turn the corner, Egboh closing the gap there impressively for a 6-6, 287-pound man. He played the entire second half.

“We ran a 4-3 in Houston, so I knew a little bit, but there was a lot of cramming about 24 hours ago,” Egboh said after the game. “God gave me another opportunity and I’m thankful for it ... It think it’s finally clicking for me.”