Two-hundred fifty-three players heard their names called during 2017 NFL draft and Corey Clement wasn't one of them. He had to settle for unceremoniously signing with his hometown Eagles after the three-day event wrapped up.
Clement wore that chip on his shoulder like a badge of honor. It motivated him through his entire rookie season, which ended in a celebration after winning Super Bowl LII.
"It's still there," Clement said this week.
That's good news.
Because while Clement might have arrived last year, it's better he thinks he hasn't. That perceived disrespect made him work harder, it made sure he did not take his success for granted. And it also made for a pretty great commencement speech this spring across the street from where he went to high school (see story).
Ultimately, it didn't matter that Clement wasn't drafted. He eventually earned a roster spot and playing time, even in crucial situations; he had 100 receiving yards in Super Bowl LII.
But not hearing his name called during the 2017 draft will always stick with him.
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"For sure," Clement said. "Because I can't tell somebody later on down the line that I got a chance to hear my name called by Roger Goodell or somebody great like David Akers say you're going to be a part of this great organization. It's always going to be in the back of my mind. I'm not mad about it anymore, but at the same time, I'm never forgetting."
Motivation is a tricky thing for this entire Eagles team. Last year, it relished being underdogs as evidenced by the dog masks and Jason Kelce's epic parade speech. Clement certainly fit into that.
So how will he stay motivated this year?
"Competition," he said. "Still going head to head with Jay (Ajayi), Wendell (Smallwood), Pump (Donnel Pumphrey), Matt Jones. We got a new running back as well, undrafted free agent (Josh Adams), so I'm pretty sure he's got fire up under his skin as well. I understand his pain and frustration too."
As a rookie, Clement played in all 16 games, slowly increasing his role. During the regular season, he had 321 rushing yards, 123 receiving yards and six total touchdowns. In the playoffs, Clement had 172 total yards with a touchdown in three games, including a monster performance in Super Bowl LII.
He thinks the mindset of having a chip on his shoulder helped him succeed.
"Being with Duce (Staley) every day has really set it in my mind," Clement said. "He believes in me and I'm not going to let him down. Everybody else in this organization has their trust and faith in me and I've got to show them why."
Staley began trusting Clement pretty early in the season and last summer compared Clement to a trusty Honda Accord because he could count on Clement and his consistency. Earlier this week, Clement said he hopes Staley isn't still comparing him to that Honda.
"At least upgrade me a little bit," he said through laughter. "Put me in a better class."
Like, what, an Acura?
"I had an Acura back in high school too," Clement said, "so he could at least call me an Acura."
Sure, an Acura. But he's not a Bentley. Gotta keep that chip on his shoulder somehow.