The Eagles were down to their last organized team activity rep of the day, a goal line drill, first team offense vs. first team defense. Reporters were starting to drift down out of the NovaCare stands, reviewing their interview plans for the day.
In an instant, all those plans were put on hold. Nick Foles threw to Jeremy Maclin at the goal line, and as Maclin planted and reached for the ball, he collided with corner Bradley Fletcher, linebacker Connor Barwin nearby. The ball bounced away. Maclin went down on his back, and grimaced. He stayed there, holding his left knee, raising and flexing it, as his teammates fell silent. A trainer hurried over and knelt at his side.
Eventually, Maclin stood up without assistance and walked to where the team was gathering around head coach Chip Kelly for the coach's practice-ending words. When the gathering broke, Maclin began striding quickly toward the locker room, without a limp.
"I'm OK, I'm straight," he told a pursuing reporter.
The Eagles don't have to provide injury reports from OTAs, so we don't know if Maclin was OK, as in "just jammed it a little, all is perfectly fine, I'll be practicing Tuesday." or OK as in "Whew, I don't think I tore another ACL, probably just a minor sprain."
Later Monday afternoon, Maclin tweeted: "Perfect day outside...bout to take the pup for a walk!"
And still later on Twitter, Maclin said he was "good to go."
Maclin, of course, is the Eagles' No. 1 receiver, following the release of DeSean Jackson. He missed last season after tearing his right ACL on the first day of full-team training camp work. Kelly has spoken repeatedly about his eagerness to see what Maclin can do in Kelly's offense. Maclin turned down a five-year contract offer from the team, taking a one-year deal, gambling that he'll play well enough to either force the Birds to up the ante during the season, or will break the bank in free agency.
Didn't get a chance to ask him, but he might have been reviewing that decision, as he lay on the ground looking at the clouds today.
The sequence underlined the risks involved in the NFL's no-contact policy regarding OTAs. The players were wearing helmets but no pads, as is mandated, to take some of the injury risk out of spring work. There was no "hitting" and certainly no tackling allowed on the play, but two guys ran together, Maclin trying to catch the ball, Fletcher trying to make sure he didn't catch it. They ran together hard. Accidental collisions are hard to police, but as in the case with Sean Lee's torn ACL at the Dallas OTA last week, it's hard to watch these drills and come away viewing them as literally "noncontact." They just aren't.