As he enters a very important second NFL season, Jalen Reagor has gotten off to a slow start this training camp.
It’s just not all his fault.
While he was listed with lower body tightness, Reagor actually failed his conditioning test on Tuesday and the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane reported that the recent murder of Reagor’s childhood friend has put Reagor in a tough mental space.
So while it’s disappointing that Reagor wasn’t in top condition as he reported for his second training camp, head coach Nick Sirianni certainly understood.
And the first-year head coach says he’s not too worried.
“Jalen had to go through some things that I can't even imagine going through that he had to deal with,” Sirianni said on Saturday, “so I know that mentally, he has to get himself in a spot. So, I'm not concerned.
“He's been getting himself back ready to go these last couple days. He's got some tightness in his body, that's why we're holding him back. Again, any time – we just believe that in practice so much, that that's where you improve as a player. So, any time a player misses, of course we’re not going to want that but no concern because he's on track to be ready and he'll get some reps today out at practice.”
The good news is that Reagor on Saturday participated in team drills for the first time this summer — he was limited the first three days — and even beat Darius Slay in a 1-on-1 rep too.
Several Eagles players have notably dealt with personal tragedies in recent years but this is the first known one since Sirianni became the Eagles’ head coach.
And it seems important for Sirianni to make sure the team is a support system for Reagor as he gets through an unbelievably difficult time.
“Just being there for him,” Sirianni said. “If we are going to say the very first core value is connecting and then aren't there for players in a time of need, then we're full of it. And so it's just being there for him, and you know, having the people in place in the building to help him deal with anything that he's going through. So you have professionals that do that, right, that can talk to him if need be and then you just have coaches that care for him that are there to talk to him, too.
“I think you see, too, the players, you see that this is a tight-knit group of players, as well. So there's a lot of guys for him to be able to talk to, again, professionals, coaches and his teammates.”
The Eagles took Reagor out of TCU with the No. 21 overall pick last season but Reagor had a disappointing rookie campaign. He dealt with several injuries and his final numbers were pedestrian: 31 catches, 396 yards, 1 touchdown.
In April, the Eagles used their first-round pick on DeVonta Smith (No. 10) making this the first time in franchise history they drafted receivers in back-to-back first rounds. This season, some of the pressure will be off Reagor as all eyes turn to Smith.
But the Eagles still need to get production out of their 2020 first-rounder. I listed Reagor as the No. 18 most important player the roster entering the 2021 season and getting production from him would be huge. While he didn’t work with the first team on Saturday, Reagor will still likely be a starter for the Eagles this year. He’s just playing a little catch-up right now after a slow start.
The Eagles really need Reagor to make a jump in Year 2.
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