Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin has returned to his hometown of St. Louis to receive further testing as the Eagles attempt to identify an illness that has sidelined the 23-year-old, the team said.
Maclin has been at training camp for more than week but he has yet to practice. The most he has done on the practice fields is partake in light conditioning drills. Maclin recently said that he was getting better. Eagles coach Andy Reid said last week that he expected his starting wideout to be back by the start of the season.
But Maclin's leaving Philadelphia is cause for concern, especially after the Eagles went out and signed free agent receiver Steve Smith on Wednesday. Eagles sources said the Smith acquisition had nothing to do with Maclin's condition, but it is fair to surmise that the addition was at least for insurance purposes.
Smith is coming off microfracture knee surgery and isn't expected by the start of the season, although he and Eagles sources said the 26-year-old could be back earlier that initially thought.
Maclin, meanwhile, has exactly a month before the start of the regular season. In April, he said he had lost 15 pounds after having "mono-like" symptoms in March. By May, he said he had gained all the weight back and looked to be completely healthy as he participated in informal team workouts.
However, when Eagles players were to report to camp on July 28 Maclin was missing. Reid said his absence was excused. Five days later Maclin showed up at Lehigh University. Reid later revealed that the receiver had been -- or was still -- ill.
Maclin looked noticeably thinner, although a team official said earlier this week that the Eagles' 2009 top pick was only two pounds below his normal playing weight. Still, the lack of information has led to Internet rumors that Maclin is suffering from a career-threatening disease. Last week, Maclin said "those crazy reports aren't true."
Last season, Maclin caught 70 passes for 964 yards and ten touchdowns.