It can’t be easy.
Two years ago, Corey Clement had a 100-yard receiving game in an unforgettable Super Bowl victory. Today he’s not even getting on the field on offense.
Clement has gone from the top of the football world to the bottom of the Eagles’ roster.
But if you’re waiting for him to go off and question his role or demand a trade or ask to be released, you just don’t know Corey Clement.
That's not him.
“To be honest, if you’re a team guy, it really shouldn’t be hard,” he said after practice on Thursday. “At the end of the day, it’s really all about the ultimate goal and that’s the Super Bowl. Being on the roster and realizing I can still contribute in a way whether it’s special teams or being in the offensive scheme whenever the week may come, I’m just fortunate to still be here and really do what I can and not press the situation and not even talk about a role. Just go out there and still have fun. Because at the end of the day, that’s what I’ve been doing all my life. So why take the fun out of it now? Why even think about something I can’t control? I can’t control it.”
This is what being an champion is all about.
Clement had a nice rookie year for an undrafted rookie, with 321 rushing yards, 10 catches and six touchdowns.
But nothing that could have prepared anybody for what he did on Feb. 4, 2018, in Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis.
Late in the second quarter, he took a short pass from Nick Foles and weaved 55 yards through traffic to set up the Philly Special.
And early in the third quarter, he made one of the most spectacular catches in Super Bowl history, beating triple coverage in the back of the end zone for a 22-yard TD.
How historic was Clement’s performance in the Eagles’ 41-33 win over the Patriots?
• He’s one of only three running backs in Super Bowl history with a 100-yard receiving game (along with Roger Craig and James White).
• He’s one of only four rookies in Super Bowl history with a 100-yard game (along with Cris Collinsworth, Torry Holt and Chris Matthews).
Four games into his third NFL season, Clement has no carries, no catches, no historic plays and just three snaps on offense — all in the opener against the Redskins.
“I love Corey,” head coach Doug Pederson said. “No. 1, his role is special teams and he's going to make an impact there, first and foremost. He understands his role, where he is in kind of the order of the running backs and what we've done there. Listen, he's a breath of fresh air. I mean, he's a guy that comes to work every day, prepares as if he's the starter on offense. He's always got energy. Always has juice each and every day, and that's what I love about Corey.”
Clement missed the Lions game with a shoulder injury, but he got no offensive snaps in either the Falcons game or Packers game, the first time that happened since the first game of his career in Washington.
“Is it tough? It's tough to go through injuries as a young player and then try to bounce back when the team is moving forward,” Pederson said. “But he's picked up right where he left off from a health standpoint and just he's contributing where he can and right now.”
Clement can play.
He netted 1,067 yards of offense and nine touchdowns on just 190 touches in his first two seasons, an average of 5.6 yards per touch.
Among all running backs in Eagles history, only Brian Westbrook (5.8) averaged more yards per touch in his first two seasons than Clement.
“You come from big-guy on campus, big guy in your league, you come to a league where everybody else is good and not everything always goes your way,” Clement said. “So you just have to realize that you take what you can get every single day and still work your ass off every day. Regardless of the situation I’m in, I’m still giving 120 percent.”
Who knows what the future holds.
As long as Miles Sanders and Jordan Howard are healthy, they’re going to get the bulk of the carries. And we know that Pederson will occasionally give Darren Sproles a big workload, like in the opener.
So Clement is a clear No. 4 right now.
But Howard is a free agent after this year, and Sproles is 36 and won’t play forever. The Eagles hold Clement’s rights for another year, so maybe at some point he’ll regain a prominent role on offense.
If it happens, he’ll be ready.
“I prepare every single day as if I’m getting in there next, as if I’m getting in there on third down or fourth down,” he said.
In the meantime, don’t look for Clement to complain about his role.
“Some people are still looking for me to say it, but I’m still humble,” he said. “I didn’t have to have those two catches in the Super Bowl. I didn’t have to be in the Super Bowl, at that. And they didn’t have to put me in the Super Bowl as a rookie, so that would never even come out. It’s not a (do me a) favor league. It’s work for your team and have fun doing it. My time will come, I just don’t know when.”