Jason Avant, one of the best slot receivers in the NFL during his eight years here, has returned to the Eagles as a training camp coach.
Avant will be working with the team’s wide receivers this summer as part of the Bill Walsh NFL Diversity Coaching Fellowship.
Avant, 37, retired after spending the 2015 season with Andy Reid in Kansas City but returned to the Philadelphia area and still lives here. He has been a guest on Eagles shows on NBC Sports Philadelphia and runs a trampoline park in South Jersey that's currently mothballed.
He’s the fourth former Eagle to join the team in some capacity since the end of the season, following Brent Celek, Darren Sproles and Connor Barwin.
"I'm so excited and grateful to be here, to help a group of very talented young players," Avant said on the Eagles’ web site. "I was a technical receiver. I wasn't the fastest receiver. I wasn't the biggest guy. I was able to get open by getting off the line of scrimmage and being precise. That's what I hope to help teach these receivers. It's a very talented group."
Aaron Moorehead is in his first year as Eagles wide receivers coach, and Avant has known him for nearly 20 years - since he was a student at Carver High School in Chicago on a recruiting trip to Illinois, where Moorehead hosted him.
"I went to Michigan, but I've known Aaron for a long time, and he's a great coach," Avant said.
Avant never played for Doug Pederson, but he was with the Eagles for four years when Pederson was on Reid’s staff.
"I was a coach when I played,” Avant said. “I was the coach in the receivers room. I approached the Eagles a few months ago and, at the time, they didn't know what training camp was going to look like. Then Doug and Howie (Roseman), along with Aaron Moorehead gave me the go-ahead and here I am.”
Avant played with DeSean Jackson for six years here. Other than rehabbing Alshon Jeffery, all the Eagles’ other receivers are 25 years old or younger and inexperienced. Among them are four rookies, including 1st-round pick Jalen Reagor.
"We've got some great veterans here and we have three young draft picks, Jalen , John (Hightower), and Quez (Watkins), and I'm going to do anything I can to help them develop their games,” Avant said. “It's just not about speed and movement, and they have plenty of that talent. How can I help them get off the press? How can I assist Aaron with his program?"
Interestingly, Reagor’s father Montae - who finished his career with the Eagles in 2007 - was a minority coaching intern with the Eagles in the summer of 2012.
Among the other former Eagles who have been awarded minority coaching fellowships with the Eagles are Correll Buckhalter, Mike Caldwell, William Fuller, Greg Lewis, Lito Sheppard, Tra Thomas and Duce Staley.
Thomas, Lewis, Thomas, Caldwell and Staley all became full-time members of the coaching staff at various points, and Staley is now assistant head coach in his 10th year on the Eagles’ coaching staff.
The sure-handed Avant spent 2006 through 2013 with the Eagles, catching 346 passes for 4,118 yards and 13 touchdowns. He ranks 14th in Eagles history in catches and 15th in yards.
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