It hasn’t been an easy few weeks for Jalen Reagor.
But his coaches and teammates have made it a lot easier.
Reagor, the Eagles’ first-round draft pick last year, is back practicing fully at training camp, but he’s been through a lot both emotionally and physically.
After practice on Tuesday, he spoke for the first time about the tragic death of one of his closest childhood friends, an incident that affected his ability to prepare for camp and ultimately led to him failing his conditioning test.
“[He] was like a little brother to me,” Reagor said. “It was hard to deal with, and Saturday was his funeral, and I wasn’t able to be there. It’s hard to deal with, but from a mental standpoint, I’m doing way better.”
One of the reasons he’s doing better is the support system he has at the NovaCare Complex.
Head coach Nick Sirianni spoke on Saturday about how important it was for the Eagles to focus on support for the 22-year-old Reagor instead of discipline considering the circumstances.
Especially after having to leave his comfort zone of friends and family back home in Texas to return to Philly.
“This is like where I can get away,” he said. “Because you go home, you have family checking on you and asking, ‘Are you OK?’ And then I go in the locker room and I have seven of my teammates checking on me. But they’re also making sure I’m in good spirits. It helps to have the head coach doing the same thing. That’s big.”
The first few days of camp, Reagor participated in individual drills, but when the team was doing team drills, he was off on a side field with a trainer doing conditioning work.
“I appreciate coach holding me accountable for all the things going on,” he said. “But that’s all in the past and I’m just looking forward to the future and I’m out on the field now so that’s what I’m pretty much focused on.”
But he made sure to point out how important it is for coaches to hold him and everybody else accountable for their actions.
“That’s how it goes,” he said. “[There have to be] consequences, especially when it’s a team thing. That’s what’s expected. I didn’t expect anything else but to be held accountable for my actions. Being held accountable makes it mean that much more.”
Reagor dealt with injuries and inconsistency as a rookie, finishing with just 31 catches for 396 yards and two TDs — one receiving, one on a punt return.
With DeVonta Smith, this year’s first-round WR, expected to miss a few weeks, this is a good opportunity for Reagor to reassert himself as a key part of the Eagles’ offense.
He’s been practicing fully only since Saturday, so it’s too early to make any judgments about where he is. So far, he’s caught the passes he's supposed to catch, and he raved about the work that Darius Slay and Steve Nelson are giving him.
“It’s very helpful,” he said. “Those guys have pretty much seen every move you can throw at them. Just having two veteran corners, you can’t have enough of that work. It’s making us better ultimately.”
Subscribe to the Eagle Eye podcast: