Eagles' Maclin says he'll play in opener

PHILADELPHIA -- The road back from a serious knee injury isn't always smooth. That's something Jeremy Maclin already knew from his first torn anterior cruciate ligament.

As Maclin rehabs his second torn ACL, he has been able to take part in nearly every activity through the offseason, June organized team activities (OTAs) and the first couple weeks of training camp. But Maclin was slow to get up after catching a pass Monday. He ran one more play, then took himself out for the rest of that day's session. On Tuesday, Maclin was in uniform but did not take part in most of the drills.

“Just a little soreness,” Maclin said. “It's not a big deal. Today, I probably could have gone. I just wasn't 100 percent. Tomorrow, I should be fine. I could have gone if they really, really needed me. I just wouldn't have felt like myself.”

With Riley Cooper (foot) also out, the Eagles' first-team wide receivers Tuesday were Ifeanyi Momah, Brad Smith and Jordan Matthews. That was not what the Eagles had in mind when they decided they could live without DeSean Jackson.

But it's the preseason, so the extra work helps the young receivers and also helps quarterback Nick Foles develop a rapport with them.

“The advantage of them being out is that guys get a chance to step up and get more and more reps,” offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said. “What we're doing is developing the depth on the team. We obviously want all the players out there all the time. The reality is, there are times when they're not.”

Maclin said the soreness was general and in both of his legs. It isn't related to the ACL injury, he said, except that everything is, in a way.

“It's just a little different considering that a year ago I had ACL surgery,” Maclin said. “It's just protocol, I guess. What you rehab is not what you're going to do on the field. No matter what you do, you can't get ready for what you have going on on the field.”

Maclin said he expected to play Friday night when the Eagles open the preseason against the Chicago Bears.

For Maclin, that will be his first football game since the end of the 2012 season.

“I'm trying not to let it get to me,” Maclin said, “but it's going to be special. I haven't played in two years. I'm looking forward to it. I'm excited.”