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Jalen Reagor Humbled by Going from First-Round Pick to Battling for Job

The Eagles WR has come into camp in the best shape of his life, but will it be enough to win a job in Philly or elsewhere if he were to be traded?
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PHILADELPHIA – Jalen Reagor knows what time it is.

It’s time for him to show up or possibly be shipped out.

He’s preparing to show up, and that is why the Eagles receiver entered training in the best physical shape of his life.

Remember last year, when he arrived out of shape and failed his physical conditioning test? 

Some of that had to do with the sudden passing of a close friend. Except this year, one of his best friends from Texas Christian University, NFL cornerback Jeff Gladney, passed away. He also lost his grandmother in January.

Yet, Reagor has come into camp with a purpose.

“From two years ago to last year to now, mentally, he’s in such a better space,” said Eagles WR coach Aaron Moorehead. “I think just that transition, having all those targets (in college) to maybe you only get a couple opportunities per game, he had to get used to that adjustment.

“He’s had a nice camp so far. He’s made plays, he’s done everything we’ve asked him to do and he’s got to continue to challenge himself every day to be great on the field and off the field and to continue to take care of himself.”

You could say well, what took so long to figure it out, and that’s a legitimate question.

“I would say last year it was me dealing with a lot, so I just wasn’t really just focused on my training,” he said. “This year, even dealing with a lot, it just motivated me more, especially because that’s my best friend (Gladney), that’s who I trained with. It just made me go even harder. And then I just didn't worry about anything else.”

Still just 23, Reagor seems to know what’s at stake – his future not only in Philadelphia but even perhaps elsewhere should he be traded before the end of August.

“I want to be here for the rest of my career,” he said. “But I mean, it's a business of production. So, I'm gonna handle my end, and I’m going to let them handle theirs.”

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Some fans aren’t cutting him any slack. They booed him at the end of last year and in camp this year, one of the guests heckled him, saying, “Reagor, you suck,” as the WR walked the sideline.

Reagor never turned his head but gave a thumbs up then put his hands together as if in prayer and bowed slightly.

“Everything is not gonna be what I want to be, but it is what it is and I got a job to do,” he said.

Jalen Reagor and A.J. Brown get ready for a practice drill

Jalen Reagor and A.J. Brown get ready for a practice drill

Head coach Nick Sirianni said early in camp that Reagor is battling for a job, later adding that he has to understand that he’s not going to get 11 or however many targets he got in a game at TCU and that he has to make sure he does his best with whatever snaps he plays.

Reagor’s response?

“I'm just gonna make them three a damn good three.”

He later added, “Me personally, I love a good challenge. So, it's a humbling experience because you know, you go from being a first-rounder to battling. But I like challenges.”

The challenge has been made greater the past two years when the Eagles followed up taking Reaor in the first round of the 2020 draft by adding DeVonta Smith in the first round a year later and then this offseason trading for A.J. Brown and signing free agent Zach Pascal.

“We got a hell of a room,” said Reagor. “It’s competition in there. Obviously, people have their jobs. Some people don't. Some people fighting, and so you just got to come in and when people go down, you step up. When people are up, you just make sure you’re ready when it’s your time.”

Reagor certainly looks ready this time.

He has to be.

Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Fan Nation Eagles Today and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglesmaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.