Next man up has long been the NFL rallying cry when dealing with injuries.
The phrase usually applies to a backup stepping up and replacing a starter. The Eagles are so thin at receiver that it is transcending positions. Clay Harbor has spent the last few days taking reps at wideout. Harbor is a tight end by trade.
“We felt he was the one tight end that probably has the speed and athletic ability to move all the way outside,” coach Chip Kelly said. “All of our tight ends know how to play inside receiver, and you see those guys flexed a lot. I think Zach Ertz could do the same thing. But we don’t want to put it on Zach’s plate right now.”
Harbor, who caught three passes for 47 yards in the preseason opener, was recruited as a receiver in college. He also played wideout in high school.
“I can play either one,” Harbor said. “I think that’s what their thinking is. I’m getting familiar with it.”
The Eagles also made a trade to improve their receiving depth. The team acquired Jeff Maehl from Houston for offensive lineman Nate Menkin. Maehl sat on the sidelines as an observer at Tuesday’s practice. He played under Kelly for four seasons at the University of Oregon.
“I think he’ll be able to add value to us not only as a receiver, but as a special teams player,” Kelly said. “I think that’s one of the things that Jeff came to Oregon as a safety and we moved him because of injuries to receiver, he’s got a defensive back mentality. He’s had games where he’s caught a 70-yard touchdown pass, and on the next play on the kickoff, he made the tackle on the 10‑yard line.”