Corey Clement Continues to Stand Out in Crowded Eagles' Backfield

Lincoln Financial Field is a familiar place to Corey Clement.

As a kid, the Glassboro, N.J., native would make the 21-mile trip up Route 55 and across the Walt Whitman Bridge on Sundays to watch the Eagles play every once in a while. But it wasn't until becoming an Eagle himself that Clement stepped foot on the Linc's cushy turf.

Thursday night, he got to do more than just run around on the field that he used to dream of getting the chance to play on. He found paydirt.

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"A dream came true getting a chance to score on Lincoln Financial Field," Clement said. "I had to work for it. It wasn't given so I'm just looking for the next one.

"There was a lot going through my head, especially as I was breaking through the line of scrimmage. I saw [Nelson] Agholor and he was blocking his behind off, so I just charged up right behind. I said, 'Either way I'm falling into this end zone.' I think I had a big smile in my head saying, 'It's right here and if I don't get it, I'll be very upset with myself.'"

For the second straight game, Clement led the team on the ground in both carries and yards, gaining 34 yards on eight touches - including a 24-yard burst that set up one of two Caleb Sturgis field goals. And once again, Clement was a major beneficiary of absences by Darren Sproles and Wendell Smallwood, neither of whom saw action against the Bills.

Still, Clement's spot on this team is very much up in the air.

LeGarrette Blount got all of the first-team reps Thursday night and it's well known what Darren Sproles is capable of, even at age 34. Donnel Pumphrey, a fourth-round pick this year, isn't going anywhere anytime soon, either. In all likelihood, it's going to be a fight to the finish between Clement and Smallwood.

And with the opportunity to make an NFL team as an undrafted rookie right out in front of him, Clement is seizing the moment.

"I don't worry about the roster spot. I just come out here and be the best that I can," Clement said. "I'm making it harder for those guys to push me off the team. At the same time, I worry about myself and myself only. If I can be the best version of myself on that day, it's all up to [the other running backs.]

"It's kind of like a checklist. Did I own the day? And my motto is one day at a time. I come back, lay down and know I gave it my all. Once that next morning comes, I don't worry about the last day. I start over - today was day one again, so tomorrow will be day one again."

Not only did Clement find success as a rusher but he also showed that his game is continuing to develop at the pro level. He caught a pair of passes for six yards - nothing drastic but it's a facet of his game that never had the chance to show during his college days at Wisconsin. He also looked a willing pass blocker in the backfield, another area that's been a part of taking the next step.

All told, it's clear that both running backs coach Duce Staley and head coach Doug Pederson are taking notice of the local kid.

"Corey's been doing a really good job for us," Pederson said. "He's a tough kid, as you can see, he's a tough runner, hard runner, smart kid. He's done everything we've asked him to do.

"He's put himself in a good position. He's competing with the other running backs there at his position, and just excited for him to score tonight."

More than just the coaches, Blount, the Eagles' elder statesman in the backfield, also sees major potential in Clement - whether he ultimately finds a way onto this team's 53-man roster or not.

"You can't say enough," Blount said. "He's got great vision, he catches the ball well, he protects the ball well. He's going to be a really good running back in this league. I can't speak on the future and how things are going to go, but he's one of the future running backs in this league that's causing problems."

Over the course of the Eagles' final two preseason contests, Clement will have just as many, if not more, chances to show that he deserves a place on this team. When he steps back out onto the same field next Thursday and then MetLife Stadium in two weeks, however, don't expect the 22-year-old to look like he's feeling the pressure of looming cuts.

He's just out there having fun.

"The most pressure I feel is during practice," Clement said. "When I come out here during the game, I can be at ease because I know I put in the work during practice. As far as coming out for the game, it's about having fun playing with your friends.

"At the same time, football is full of ups and downs. It's all about how you bounce back."

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