Patience has never been a strong suit for an Eagles fan base that had to wait 52 years for its first Super Bowl title.
Now, it is Justin Jefferson who is trying that patience. He was the receiver the Eagles had a chance to take with the 21st pick last spring, but instead went with Jalen Reagor, allowing the Vikings to sprint to the podium to announce they were taking Jefferson with the 22nd selection.
Jefferson stepped into the national spotlight on Monday night and didn’t blink, making eight catches on 10 targets for 135 yards in a win over the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football. It was the fourth time he’s been over 100 yards in 10 games this season and he now has 42 receptions for 742 yards and three touchdowns.
Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, rookie receiver Jalen Reagor is answering questions about why he didn’t catch a punt that sailed over his head in Sunday’s loss to the New York Giants.
Reagor will never hear the end of the comparison with Jefferson until he begins to match the production expected from a first-round pick, and even if he does, he may still hear the comparisons forever.
“That’s the only person people bring up,” said Reagor on Tuesday. “It’s not for me to watch another man’s success and be like I wish was. He hasn’t had any injuries. I have. I can’t watch another man’s journey. I just have to be ready to conquer mine when the time comes. Like I said, what’s life without scars?”
Reagor expressed some frustration about continually being asked about Jefferson. It was a deep wide receiver class, after all.
“The longer you bring it up, I’ll just keep giving y’all the same answers,” he said. “Y’all keep bringing it up, y’all can keep saying when guys like, when guys like, what else do you want me to do? I can’t go make those things happen. It’s just certain things you just gotta know when your time’s coming, it’s going to come, and what’s meant to be, it’ll be.”
Reagor’s career has gotten off to a slow start due to two injuries. The first, a shoulder, cut short his training camp. The second, a thumb, cost him five games.
He has played two games since his return prior to the bye and has seven catches for 63 yards, six rushing yards, and a touchdown in those two games. In his four games this season, Reagor has 12 receptions for 159 yards and one TD.
Bigger things figure to be on the horizon over these final seven games, especially as the chemistry and trust build between him and quarterback Carson Wentz.
Those two intangibles were what Reagor missed out on most as he rehabbed two injuries.
“I wasn’t able to get those practice reps with Carson, but like I said, it is what it is,” said Reagor, who is still just 21. “I wasn’t out there, that’s a part of growing and getting chemistry. Then it doesn’t make it any better than I’m a rookie, so he has to build trust in me and what I’m doing to get comfortable.
“Look at him and (tight end Zach) Ertz. It’s chemistry. I haven’t been here. I got hurt, had two injuries, so like I said, whenever my time is called, I’m going to make the best of it. I just have to keep climbing the mountain each and every day, I can’t make excuses.”
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