Seeking Receiving Depth, Eagles Reach Out to a Familiar Face in Markus Wheaton

Markus Wheaton was unemployed for about 48 hours. The Eagles released him Saturday afternoon and called him out in Phoenix Monday afternoon and told him to get on back to Philly.

It's a crazy story, but in an NFL world filled with injuries, roster turnover and waiver claims, it's not an unusual story.

"Flew out to Arizona, came right back," the veteran receiver said. "They told me, ‘Stay ready.' Didn't think it would be that quick, but here I am."

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The Eagles originally signed Wheaton on May 2 a couple days after the draft ended without them selecting a wideout.

Training camp started off impressively, but then he got hurt, missed 2 ½ weeks and never really made an impact when he came back. He played in the last two preseason games but didn't catch a pass.

"I think I had a pretty good preseason before I got hurt," he said. "Really did a good job getting ready in the offseason."

Not good when a veteran receiver struggles with a hammy throughout the summer.

"Frustrating," he said. "Nobody wants to be out for an extended period of time.

"It's tough. You're with a new team, everybody's trying to build chemistry, you're trying to show what kind of player you are and how you fit in, but you can't get out there.

"It is frustrating. It's counter-productive."

So it wasn't a surprise when the Eagles released him Saturday and went with Alshon Jeffery, Mike Wallace, Nelson Agholor, Mack Hollins, Shelton Gibson and DeAndre Carter on the 53.

With Jeffery out the first week or two and Hollins suffering a setback from his groin injury, the Eagles needed help going into the Atlanta game.

So by the start of practice Tuesday, Wheaton was not only back in town, he was on the practice field with the guys who had been his teammates until Saturday.

The Eagles formally announced Wheaton's signing early Tuesday morning and placed injured tight end Richard Rodgers on IR.

"You have to always be ready," he said. "You never know what's going to happen. That's one thing I've learned about this league. You just never know."

The Eagles are a bit thin at wide out.

We all know what kind of player Agholor is, but Gibson and Carter have one career regular-season catch combined and Wallace and Wheaton combined for one three-yard catch in the preseason.

"We needed to have some depth at the receiver position," Pederson said. "Markus, definitely, has been here all offseason, training camp, (and) makes a good fit for us."

Wheaton, 27, had 97 catches for 1,393 yards and seven TDs in Pittsburgh in 2014 and 2015 but just 7-for-102 the last two years with the Steelers and Bears.

Maybe this is the opportunity he needs to jump-start his career.

Or maybe he'll just be on a flight back to Arizona in the next few days.

In the NFL, you never know if a new contract is a day away or if a new job is a day away.

The Eagles could certainly use some punch on offense Thursday night from an unexpected source.

"I wasn't worried about (the future)," he said. "When I'm here, I'm focused on football.

"When I was home, I didn't dwell on it. You hope you get that call, and when you do, you come back and pick up where you left off."

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