When Rueben Randle speaks, he does so softly. He’s careful with his words and radiates a quiet, laid-back attitude.
That, he said Tuesday, is part of the reason he’s no longer in New York, where he caught 57 passes for 797 yards and had eight scores as a wide receiver on the Giants last season.
“Miscommunication as to what was going on,” Randle said Tuesday before the first day of mandatory OTAs. “I guess they didn’t like some things, my demeanor and things like that. I was just judged wrong and read wrong. I gotta be better about it. Learn from mistakes in the past and try to move forward here.”
The demeanor, his “laid-back” personality, he says led others to feel he wasn’t fully invested, that he was sort of “out of it.”
Randle said he’s not going to change his personality but instead change the way he presents himself, including things like facial expressions and body language.
“I’m excited to be here, just moving to a different path, a different opportunity for me,” Randle said.
The start here in Philadelphia has already had a brief roadblock.
Randle, 25, missed last week’s optional portion of OTAs after undergoing surgery to remove his gallbladder.
A little more than two weeks ago, Randle woke up the morning after having a chicken sandwich and felt severe stomach pain. For a few days, he thought maybe the sandwich had caused some kind of food poisoning.
Then Monday, May 23 rolled around and Randle went into the Eagles’ practice facility and alerted the team’s training staff that the stomach pain and trouble sleeping he was experiencing hadn’t subsided. Randle went to the emergency room and had surgery the same day. He stayed overnight and was released the following morning.
The only lasting ramifications will be diet-oriented. Randle will have to cut back on fried, fatty foods.
When the Eagles opened up mandatory OTAs Tuesday, Randle was on the field, but new coach Doug Pederson said before the team took the field that Randle would be in the same category as players like Fletcher Cox, Darren Sproles, Nolan Carroll and others. Those players were healthy but would be limited in practice mostly because of conditioning concerns and not wanting injuries to occur.
“We’re going to be smart about it,” Pederson said of the players who were limited. “Now’s not the time.”
But when Pederson has seen Randle so far this spring, he’s liked what the 6-2, 208-pound receiver has brought to the receiving corps.
“[Randle] has been a pleasant surprise,” Pederson said. “He’s a guy that’s a big, tall, sort of a smooth receiver that understands what we’re asking him to do. He knows his role and you’ve got three or four, or five guys out there right now that are competing for that spot.”
Randle has played mostly outside in his four-year career since being drafted out of LSU in the second round in 2012, including the last few years opposite Odell Beckham Jr. In 2014, he caught 71 passes for 938 and had three touchdowns.
He’s competing for a starting spot with the Eagles likely opposite Jordan Matthews, who Pederson said earlier in the spring he’d like to see play on the outside. Chris Givens, Nelson Agholor and Josh Huff, who has played both inside and out, are also in the mix.
Randle said he doesn’t have a preference playing on the outside or in the slot.
“I think I can do it all,” he said confidently, and just loud enough to be heard.