Jeremy Maclin Shows Heroism and Toughness By Matt Lombardo

The Eagles and their fans can breathe a sigh of relief after Jeremy Maclin tests for lymphoma came back negative and the receiver can return to practice in 7-10 days. 

On Wednesday, after months of speculation, worry and concern Jeremy Maclin finally found the answer to what was ailing him. No longer was it a mystery why he had lost several pounds and lacked the energy necessary to compete in the National Football League. Most importantly, Maclin found relief thanks to a test for lymphoma that came back negative.

Eagles trainer Rick Burkholder said on Wednesday that Maclin would be cleared to practice for the first time this season in seven to ten days, but his status for the season opener is to be determined. Even though there is optimism that Maclin will be in the lineup on September 11th in St. Louis, that almost doesn’t matter. Not after what the third year receiver went through over the last several months. What matters today and moving forward is that a 23 year old is no longer staring down the pipe at Cancer, after Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer was first to report.

There was much speculation after Maclin left the team for his hometown of St. Louis a week ago, now we learn that during that trip he had lymph nodes removed and a final test for lymphoma was conducted with the comfort of family nearby.

“That first day when the doctor sat down and explained to me exactly what lymphoma is, that it is a form of cancer, it hit me when I walked out of his office and I broke down,” Maclin told Glazer. “It was hard for me, but I had to remain positive.”

Anyone who has ever been in such a situation can certainly relate to the moment of terror when the uncertainty surrounding a cancer scare hits. This makes Maclin’s trips to Lehigh to do side work and conditioning all the more admirable while his diagnosis was in doubt.

Turns out that it was not cancer, rather an inflammatory virus that caused Maclin’s fatigue and illness.

The Eagles drew plenty of criticism for their handling of questions regarding Maclin’s health, many thought the evasiveness was unnecessary and harbored speculation and rumors. What we found yesterday was that they deserve commendation for honoring Maclin’s wishes. As has become practice under Andy Reid, the 13th year head coach was simply protecting his player.

“I wanted to keep it private until I knew for sure what was going on,” Maclin told Fox Sports. “The Eagles were amazing. They were one of the only ones who knew. My relationship with them is more than professional. They were like family during this.”

Now that Maclin’s personal plight is behind him, the Eagles organization and fans two things are certain. Maclin can turn his attention to football and returning to the field where he was the team’s leading receiver in 2010. And secondly, perhaps more importantly, in retrospect this situation was just as harrowing as many speculated and the Eagles deserve praise for protecting the wishes of a player who literally was facing the fight for his life.

Matt Lombardo is a reporter and host for 97.3 ESPN in Atlantic City, NJ. Matt can be reached on Twitter @MattLombardoPHL


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