Eagles' Jeremy Maclin cleared to return

Updated: August 17, 2011, 11:52 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, who still hasn't practiced yet, has been deemed healthy and cleared to start returning to football activities following a cancer scare, trainer Rick Burkholder said Wednesday.

Burkholder said, barring a setback, Maclin will return to practice within 10 days and should be able to play in the Sept. 11 opener at St. Louis.

Jeremy Maclin
AP Photo/Brian GarfinkelJeremy Maclin was cleared to return to football activities and should be able to play by Week 1.

Burkholder said Maclin began experiencing symptoms -- night sweats, fever, loss of weight, loss of appetite -- in March, synonymous with lymphoma, a form of cancer. But a five-month battery of tests taken in both Philadelphia and St. Louis came back inconclusive, and not until Wednesday, was Maclin finally cleared of all serious conditions.

Maclin, in an interview with FoxSports.com, tried to clear the air after his mysterious ailment caused the rumor mill to ramp into high gear.

"That's first and foremost, I want everyone to know I'm fine, I'm healthy," Maclin told FoxSports.com on Wednesday. "I was tested for everything and every single test came back negative. I don't have mono, I don't have AIDS, leukemia, all the things people were guessing on, there was nothing. I was being tested for lymphoma and thank God everything has come back negative.

"I wanted my privacy on this until I had answers. I don't like to talk unless I have all the answers about what I'm talking about. It was frustrating to hear all the rumors about me. It wasn't until this morning that I finally got my final answer and thankfully I'm healthy and ready to return to football."

Maclin underwent a laparoscopy procedure last Thursday so doctors could get a clearer biopsy than previous tests had provided, ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen reported. The results came back Wednesday, and were negative.

Maclin was tested for HIV and numerous other diseases and underwent several tests, including scans. He also consulted with a hematologist, an oncologist and an infectious disease specialist, among others.

"Frankly," Burkholder said, "nobody could come up with a definitive diagnosis."

Sources familiar with his medical review told ESPN's Mortensen that Maclin also underwent a bone marrow test and also had a biopsy of his lymph nodes that was negative.

Burkholder said in a conference call from Pittsburgh, where the Eagles face the Steelers in a preseason game Thursday, that Maclin's symptoms disappeared at some point before late July. He said the cause of the symptoms remains "vague."

"We're confident that the life-threatening stuff is out of the mix," Burkholder said.

I don't have mono, I don't have AIDS, leukemia, all the things people were guessing on, there was nothing. I was being tested for lymphoma and thank God everything has come back negative.

-- Jeremy Maclin to FoxSports.com

Maclin attributed the entire situation to a virus.

"It was all caused by an inflammatory virus, something that just runs its course through your body or you can treat with medicine,'' Maclin told FoxSports.com. "I didn't need medicine. It's just something I had to deal with."

As the Eagles turn their attention to the Steelers and beyond, doctors will continue to monitor Maclin. But the trainer said he and team physician Gary Dorshimer, who treated Maclin, are confident the symptoms won't return.

"We'll continue to test him, just like we test any player that's had any condition," Burkholder said. "If a player has high blood pressure, we continue to test him for high blood pressure."

When he reported to Eagles training camp, Maclin's hemoglobin blood count was 10 compared to a normal level of 14, sources told Mortensen. That is often a sign of anemia, a disease in which one's body does not receive an ample supply of oxygen through red blood cells. Other abnormalities can develop if the hemoglobin count is left untreated.

When he was initially sidelined in camp, Maclin told reporters that he lost as much as 15 pounds when he suffered from "mono-like" symptoms in February and March, but mononucleosis was never definitively diagnosed.

Maclin, 23, caught 70 passes for 964 yards and 10 touchdowns last year.

Information from ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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