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Maclin, Eagles reveal cancer scare why receiver out of camp

  • By NFL.com Wire Reports
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Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, who hasn't practiced yet, has been cleared to return to the Philadelphia Eagles after a cancer scare, trainer Rick Burkholder said Wednesday.

According to Burkholder, Maclin will return to practice within 10 days, barring a setback, and should be able to play in the Sept. 11 season opener at St. Louis.

Burkholder said that in March, Maclin began experiencing symptoms -- night sweats, fever, loss of weight, loss of appetite -- synonymous with lymphoma, a form of cancer. But a five-month battery of tests taken in both Philadelphia and St. Louis came back inconclusive. It wasn't until Wednesday that Maclin, the 19th overall pick by the Eagles in the 2009 NFL Draft, finally was cleared of all serious conditions.

"That's nothing anyone ever wants to hear," Maclin told Jay Glazer of Fox Sports and NFL Network of doctors believing he might have cancer. "That's a hard time — the thought that at any given time you can get that call that they found cancer. It was eating away at me, and it was hard for me to hide.

"I wanted to keep it private until I knew for sure what was going on, and the Eagles were amazing. They were one of the only ones who knew. My relationship with them is more than professional. They were like family during this."

Maclin was tested for HIV and numerous other diseases and underwent several tests, including scans. He also consulted with a hematologist, an oncologist and an infectious disease specialist, among others.

"Frankly," Burkholder said, "nobody could come up with a definitive diagnosis."

Burkholder, speaking on a conference call from Pittsburgh, where the Eagles are scheduled to face the Steelers in a preseason game Thursday, reported Maclin's symptoms disappeared at some point before late July. He said the cause of the symptoms remains "vague."

"We're confident that the life-threatening stuff is out of the mix," Burkholder said. "Right now, we're going to look at him as having an inflammatory condition that caused him to have the symptoms and the abnormal blood studies."

Maclin underwent a laparoscopy procedure last Thursday so doctors could get a clearer biopsy than previous tests had provided. The results came back Wednesday and were negative.

Asked why his description of the cause of Maclin's condition seems vague, Burkholder replied, "It is vague."

As the Eagles turn their attention to the Steelers and beyond, doctors will continue to monitor Maclin. But the trainer said he and team physician Gary Dorshimer, who treated Maclin, are confident the symptoms won't return.

"We'll continue to test him, just like we test any player that's had any condition," Burkholder said. "If a player has high blood pressure, we continue to test him for high blood pressure."

Burkholder's conference call was the first statement from the Eagles on Maclin's condition. Burkholder said Maclin asked the team not to comment until he was cleared.

"His request through this whole thing was that we don't do anything with the media or any reports until we were really ready to have everything more definitive in the testing," Burkholder said. "So, obviously we granted him that wish, and that's why we really didn't have anything to say. Legally, I can't say anything till he gives me the OK.

"And he gave me the OK this afternoon."

Maclin, 23, caught 70 passes for 964 yards and 10 touchdowns last season.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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