BETHLEHEM--DeSean Jackson apparently didn't get the memo about how the Eagles' signing of wideout Steve Smith was unrelated to Jeremy Maclin's illness.
"The reason why they picked him up is they're unsure of Maclin's health," Jackson said today following his first practice since ending his 11-day training camp holdout. Jackson had been asked what he made of the signing of Smith, which perhaps implied the possibility that the Eagles are seeking leverage in their contract talks with Jackson. Jackson called Smith a friend and said be was hoping for Maclin's quick return.
Smith, recovering from left knee microfracture surgery, was officially played on the physicially unable to perform list today. The Eagles hold out hope that he will be able to start the season on the active roster; if he starts on PUP, he can't play for a full six weeks. Smith is very unlikely to be ready for the opener, but the team thinks he might not need to miss six weeks.
Eagles coach Andy Reid said he was pleased to see Jackson looking sharp, showing he had worked hard during the lockout. Reid gave no update on Maclin, who has returned home to the St. Louis area for more tests, the team has said.
Jackson talked about his goals for his fourth NFL season. " I just want to be consistent every game, not have those ups and downs. That's something I learned from Jerry Rice, to be as consistent as possible. Go out there every day, working hard, regardless if you're hurting, whatever the case may be, you still gotta push through it," Jackson said.
"He's got fresh legs, compared to the other guys, who are a little bit tired," Reid said of Jackson. "He's always got a little bounce in his step anyway ... The nice part was that you could tell he'd been working, so he was able to go out and function at a hign level out here. That's a plus and it's a compliment to him."
The morning practice might have been the Eagles' longest of this camp.
Rookie kicker Alex Henery redeemed a miserable morning by hitting his final field goal attempt, a 57-yarder. Reid lauded him for battling through his struggles.
The only real news was the absence of right tackle Ryan Harris from practice with back spasms. Reid said the problem isn't serious, but acknowledged Harris has dealt with back issues before. Harris declined comment. "We're going to make sure we check this thing out, and that it's right," Reid said. "Right now, it looks like it's not too serious."
DT Mike Patterson worked out on his own and might be able to practice in a week or so, Reid said.
C Jamaal Jackson sat out with knee tendinitis, Reid said.
The loss of OT Fenuki Tupou to an MCL sprain, and the hobbling of King Dunlap by a knee problem suffered in Thursday's preseason opener, led to the signing of a pair of offensive tackles, veteran Joe Toledo and rookie free agent Spence Johnson. To made room, DT Brandon Collier was waived/injury settlement, and QB Jerron Johnson and DT Charlie Noonan, from St. Joe's Prep, were released.